2021 ITSM Predictions: Endpoint Security, Algorithmic Decision-Making, and User Data Privacy

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Click to learn more about author Rajesh Ganesan.

Even after the pandemic is in our rear-view window, many of us will continue to work remotely. A recent Harvard Business School study suggests that 16 percent of companies expect their employees to continue to work from home long after the pandemic concludes. With so many people working remotely, there will be a great focus on IT security in the following year, and AI will play an important role.

AI-Based Models Will Be Increasingly Incorporated into IT Security Solutions

Given that so many of us are working remotely, the attack surface is exponentially larger than it might otherwise be. It’s vital that IT personnel are able to ascertain who is accessing sensitive corporate data on the network and when such access occurs. With AI-based models, IT teams can create a baseline for employees’ normal activity and then trigger automated alerts if there is any unusual activity. Algorithmic decision-making like this will continue to play an important role in the IT security space, as it not only helps monitor remote workers’ activity but it also automates mundane tasks, which in turn frees up IT technicians’ time.

Conversational AI Is Here to Stay

Although some suspected it was a fad, it is safe to say that conversational AI will be around for the foreseeable future. As we discovered in our recent remote work behavior report, the majority (76 percent) of consumers find chatbot-based support to be either “satisfactory” or “excellent.” Across the board, we are seeing a mass “consumerization of IT,” whereby consumers expect the same user experience from their IT software as they would from other software. Moreover, part of this user experience entails conversational AI; as our report found, these AI-powered technologies were particularly popular among Millennials and GenZers.

A Litany of Data Privacy Laws Are on the Horizon

There were a ton of consumer data privacy bills on the docket in 2020; however, most were placed on the back burner while the pandemic interrupted legislative proceedings. We expect to see some of these bills revisited in the upcoming year. Some tackle data broker regulation, biometrics, and facial recognition; others focus on companies’ handling of user data. As the newly-passed Consumer Privacy Rights Act (CPRA) reveals, legislators are trying to make it more difficult for powerful tech companies to track their users with impunity. It’s worth noting that the CPRA explicitly addresses algorithmic decision-making in its bill as well. Consumers now have the ability to request information about the logic behind algorithmic decision-making tools, and they can opt to keep their data out of such AI-models. Such legislation may be a harbinger of things to come. After all, consumer data privacy has needed to be addressed for quite some time now.

Looking Ahead

As COVID-19 upended our day-to-day work lives, the always-resilient IT sector shouldered much of the corporate burden. Given that many of us will continue to work remotely throughout 2021, we can expect IT personnel to once again play an important role. In all likelihood, artificial intelligence technologies will become even more prevalent in IT security solutions. Through the use of AI-based security models, IT security personnel can effectively safeguard corporate data. Also, conversational AI will continue to be popular — especially among the younger generations — and if the CPRA (California Privacy Rights Act) is any indication, AI is likely to be targeted in upcoming legislation. Nevertheless, the upcoming year is filled with promise, and as usual, the IT infrastructure segment is helping to pave the way forward and make today’s way of doing work possible.

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