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As 2021 ends and we look forward to the new year. Last year, we predicted 2021 to be the year of AIOps, that the cloud will be everywhere, and getting to know more about Secure Access Service Edge (SASE) adoption.

But what does this mean for next year? The experts at LiveAction throughout the year have kept their fingers on the pulse of the network management industry and gathered their predictions for what awaits us in the coming months. Here are LiveAction’s 2022 predictions:

Prediction 1: Patching Gaps Following Disclosures Will Drive Increased Ransomware Attacks As Hackers “Go Back to The Well Over and Over”

Ransomware continues to increase and is only getting more complex. In fact, according to Trend Micro report, ransomware attacks increased by 1,318% in the banking industry alone (through the first half of 2021). In 2022, we expect to see this increase continue, further fueled by patching gaps following disclosures that allow attackers to weaponize vulnerabilities quickly. Specifically, assets with critical production workloads are often those that cannot immediately be patched (due to change control programs) – leaving vulnerable assets in a state of increased risk between vulnerability disclosure and the accompanying patch. On average, it takes organizations 205 days to patch vulnerable software and systems following disclosure (according to WhiteHat Security).

Threat actors see this long runway as an opportunity to “go back to the well” over and over during the patching void period. We expect to see increases in phishing, insecure remote access, and exploited public-facing vulnerabilities from hackers as they look to identify lucrative data on the network to encrypt and exfiltrate for ransom. This makes accelerated patching crucial. But it also increases the value of Network Detection and Response (NDR) solutions that can help prevent these sorts of attacks using advanced detection capabilities, encrypted traffic analysis, behavioral traffic analysis, and streaming machine learning. This allows security teams to detect anomalous behavior, assess risk and achieve the operational resiliency needed to stop ransomware, even if patching vulnerabilities exist.

Prediction 2: Organizations Will Finally Achieve Multi-Cloud Visibility for NetOps and SecOps by Embracing Network Performance Monitoring Solutions That See into Encrypted Traffic

Accelerated digital transformation has propelled the move to cloud and SaaS applications. Cloud provider selection is now being driven more by business outcomes instead of IT requirements, forcing a diverse multi-cloud environment. This is creating big visibility challenges for NetOps teams as they’re tasked to deliver optimized performance securely. In 2022, IT operations will finally adopt a single source of visibility for application performance management and network security that will allow NetOps and SecOps teams to be truly aligned. This will likely come in the form of network performance monitoring solutions that are adding security functionality, like the ability to see into encrypted traffic (or NDR solutions).

Prediction 3: Zero Trust Network Access Becomes the New Zero Trust Buzzword, For Good Reason

Zero Trust continues to drive the security conversation and has become the buzzword of 2021. And probably for good reason. While basically a rehashing of least privilege concepts, it’s helping to raise security awareness within organizations. So much so that the White House released an Executive Order (Section 3) earlier this year around the concept. But many organizations are not familiar with the role networking monitoring plays in a Zero Trust Architecture, which includes using enhanced identity governance, micro-segmentation, and Zero Trust Network Access (or ZTNA).

As we roll into 2022, and organizations continue to embrace SDN and SASE, IT operations teams will become increasingly familiar with ZTNA, which is basically a fancy term for software-defined perimeters. ZTNA is critical for delivering secure connectivity to private applications without putting them on the network or exposing them to the internet.

Prediction 4: SD-WAN in SASE Will Continue on a Collision Course

As SD-WAN adoption continues, security is becoming an increasingly larger part of the conversation. In 2022, expect to see SD-WAN and SASE collide as organizations work to deploy SASE solutions that fit into their SD-WAN deployment models. This will create challenges around picking the right solutions that will fit into the larger SASE strategy.

If an organization already owns SD-WAN assets, for example, how will they leverage them into a larger SASE deployment, especially around architecture, interoperability, training, and management? There are many complexities associated with connecting a wide-ranging set of users and areas including remote workers, company sites, and multi-cloud. This will also put pressure on SecOps and NetOps to work more closely together with common visibility and analytics platform that can help with ongoing monitoring and management.

Furthermore, network monitoring vendors will be asked to deliver more capabilities. Specifically, around application performance and security, such as integrated SD-WAN and multi-cloud monitoring, end-to-end diagnostics (as applications traverse network segments that are geographically dispersed), and integrated security features like encrypted traffic analysis and forensic analysis capabilities that fit into the edge, on-premises, and SD-WAN deployments.

Goodbye 2021

In the past 2 years, we have learned that nothing is a guarantee and remote working environments seem to be here to stay. Therefore a priority in cybersecurity is important along with aligning NetOps and SecOps teams, more familiarity in ZTNA, and deployment of SASE solutions.

In 2021 LiveAction acquired CounterFlow AI to expand our network security. The combined platform brought us the opportunity to streamline previously siloed network operations (NetOps) and security operations (SecOps) workflows, using common data, platform integration, and improved visualization to increase the speed and efficiency with which organizations manage network and security events.

Among other achievements this year, we announced our strategic partnership with SITA, the leading IT provider to the air transport industry, revealing a new reporting solution that will provide complete visibility across WAN and SD-WAN deployments.

LiveAction EMEA Team Live at GITEX
LiveAction EMEA Team Live at GITEX in October.

The LiveAction team has grown globally and we plan to continue that momentum. We appreciated the time teams could get together and (finally) attend in-person events to help others learn more about our solutions – LiveAction strives to maintain momentum and grow in 2022.