Technology Disruptions to Ride the Second Wave of Digital Transformation in 2021 and Beyond

Robert Gutkowski, Intelligence and Innovation Advisor, Integral Consulting Services and Jose Laguna, Senior Engineer and Bincy Ninan-Moses, Director of Cybersecurity, Integral Consulting Services
Robert Gutkowski, Intelligence and Innovation Advisor, <a href='' rel='nofollow' target='_blank' style='color:blue !important'>Integral Consulting Services</a>

Robert Gutkowski, Intelligence and Innovation Advisor, Integral Consulting Services

As a direct result of the COVID-19 pandemic, we have seen unprecedented changes over the past year to our usual way of conducting business, with a significant portion of the workforce working remotely, leading to a number of technology disruptions and security challenges. As a result, we have experienced heightened  cybersecurity requirements influencing every aspect of technology. While AI provides unlimited applications and benefits, its proliferation into all walks of life can lead to potentially disruptive impacts. This technology will require a paradigm shift with increased focus on rules of engagement based on ethical and transparent principles. Integral Consulting Services, Inc. (Integral) has always been on the forefront of exploiting cutting-edge technologies to enhance our technical solutions. Based on our detailed analysis, our familiarity with technology trends, and our adaptability to the changing environment, Integral makes the following technology predictions for 2021,specifically in relation to the federal sector.

Augmented Intelligence using Machines (AIM) Application for Identity Intelligence. The emphasis on collection of data has led to substantial increase in velocity and volume of dataflows, overwhelming legacy data storage practices for indexing, tagging, and querying. Using AI, data science and AIM toolsets will make large and unstructured data storage systems more practicable.AIM can enhance human capabilities by reducing necessary but repetitive tasks via automated searching, aggregation, quality control, and troubleshooting. We foresee a great need for investments in enhancement of AIM for real-time applications, such as performing all source intelligence analyses faster and more accurately.

Multimodal Biometrics. We see increased use of various Biometrics modalities for identity and authentication. Biometrics has grown to include more multimodal collections, with accompanying challenges in improving matching and storage of each modality while staying within the policies related to privacy and security concerns of domestic customers and foreign partners. Physical and behavioral biometrics will be used for improved Multifactor Authentication (MFA) and Identity Intelligence (I2) for applications, such as “Know-Your-Customer” regulations, counterterrorism, detection of falsified identity documents, and “Deepfakes.”

Hyperautomation. We anticipate a significant trend toward automation of increasingly higher-level tasks in 2021 through the combination of robotic process automation (RPA) and other advanced technologies such as AI, machine learning, and advanced analytics. This integrated use of diverse technologies for automation was termed “hyperautomation” by Gartner in late 2019, and is positioned to gain significant traction in 2021 for enhancing operational efficiency, reducing corporate costs and impacting strategic decisions.

Jose Laguna, Senior Engineer and Bincy Ninan-Moses, Director of Cybersecurity, Integral Consulting ServicesRPA has typically focused on lower-level, rule-based tasks that can drive operational efficiency and free workers for higher-level activities. By combining RPA with AI for analysis of business processes, organizations can begin automating their higher-value processes. For example, hyperautomation could be used to not only automate the compilation of financial reports through the rule-based approach of RPA, but also to help drive subsequent revenue by applying AI techniques to automatically analyze various combinations offinancial investments and levers that a company could implement. As another example, compiling health care statistics, which often are assembled from disparate government sources, is a complex task that can be facilitated through automation. An even greater impact, however, could be achieved using AI techniques and advanced analytics on those statistics to identify successful community health initiatives, provide public information on healthcare, and help inform policy decisions and implementations.

For organizations to effectively use hyperautomation will mean leveraging their internal workforce as partners to holistically assess their processes, break down task silos, and incorporate a human feedback loop to continually improve analyses and efficiencies. It will also mean partnering with experts who understand these advanced technologies and, importantly, how to best create the interfaces between those technologies for increasingly efficient and insightful processes. These investments of resources, internal and external, will help organizations realize the impact of hyperautomation in 2021.

Zero Trust Security. The shift to hybrid cloud environments and a remote workforce leads to location-agnostic operations and calls for heightened security that have broken the traditional perimeter-based network security model. We need to focus on Zero Trust Architecture (ZTA) where we verify assets explicitly, focus on least privilege principles, and assume that we are always under attack by malicious actors. There is an increased need for reliable authentication and authorization of users and assets for access. We see significant investments in technologies to build ZTA, such as MFA, micro-segmentation, granular perimeter enforcement, orchestration, deception techniques, and encryption.

Cloud Security Management. Migration to cloud computing, including private, public, and hybrid clouds, has gained increasing significance for most of our clients. With the pandemic forcing us to move to a remote workforce culture, there is an increased need to manage security of data and assets in the cloud. This includes increasing R&D investments in the mitigation of threats of cloud migration and developing tailored multi-cloud environment architecture and solutions such as security automatic and orchestration, advanced threat detection, and reporting.