Top 10 Security Megatrends for 2021

Every industry has its trends and security is no different. The Security Industry Association (SIA) released its annual list of security megatrends for 2021, and unsurprisingly, some priorities have shifted while others endure. SIA publishes its Security Megatrends list annually based on feedback from focus groups, interviews and survey data from top security industry business leaders.

One shifting priority is predictive data analytics for security, which appears on SIA’s list for the first time ever. Ranked third for 2021, predictive analytics shot past more familiar trends like cloud computing and data privacy.

Artificial intelligence, which ranked fifth in 2019 and second for 2020, is now the top megatrend for 2021. Interest in AI remains high as it promises to help security departments do more with less in the long term. Popular use cases include monitoring logs for suspicious activity, malware detection and automation to help security analysts focus more on high-value activities. AI is in the product roadmap for many security solutions that you’re already using, so adoption may be natural over time, with AI working in the background to deliver more value.

The convergence of physical and cyber security continues to be a hot topic, appearing second on the 2021 list, down from the top spot last year. Organizations continue to look for more synergy between these two often-separate disciplines to physically secure cyber assets such as data centers and IoT devices.

Predictive analytics, which has been trending in other industries, is now a hot topic for the security industry. Theoretically, if you have enough of the right data, you can predict the future, at least to some extent. This is an advanced data analytics capability, which builds on prescriptive analytics—a technique that provides insight into why an event occurred.

Given that 2020 is the year of the pandemic, it’s not surprising to see touchless and frictionless solutions emerge on the list for the first time as the sixth hottest megatrend for 2021. Reducing physical contact points improves safety, and these solutions can be paired with facial recognition—which placed seventh on the list, down from third last year—to provide fast, secure access to authorized individuals.

Ranking fourth for 2021 is connectivity and the IoT of everything. More personal and industrial devices connected to enterprise networks have expanded the attack surface. Organizations are interested in the ability to manage the security of edge devices at scale.

Returning to the list after dropping off for 2020 is responsive environments and intelligent spaces. Smart buildings are filled with network-connected sensors and other devices that require security.

Security leaders continue to be interested in new service models, which ranks 10 on the 2021 list. Hosted and managed services, coupled with modernization of security platforms, promise to deliver more reliability and better security at a lower cost over time. For example, IST’s S.H.I.E.L.D full life cycle approach to modernizing security infrastructures can give security leaders the ability to focus less on infrastructure and more on security strategy without breaking the budget.

Cloud computing continues to endure as a top-five trend while data privacy makes the list again after dropping off for 2020.

The full list: SIA’s 2021 Security Megatrends

  1. Artificial Intelligence
  2. Cybersecurity of Physical Security
  3. Predictive Data Analytics
  4. Connectivity and the IoT of Everything
  5. Cloud Computing
  6. Touchless & Frictionless Solutions
  7. Facial Recognition
  8. Responsive Environments & Intelligent Spaces
  9. Emphasis on Data Privacy
  10. Move to Service Models