Devin Redmond, Theta Lake: Collaboration Security Will Be a Top Priority for Government in 2021

This is part of an ongoing 2021 predictions series. We’ve asked top cyber experts to contribute their insights and expertise to provide a look ahead at what the new year may bring to cybersecurity.


Devin Redmond CEO and Cofounder Theta Lake:

  1. The traditional office as we know it will disappear. The pandemic-specific concept captured in the phrase ‘work-from-home’ will be replaced by the permanent concept of ‘work-from-anywhere’ by leveraging collaboration platforms and cloud-based applications. Remote collaboration platforms will become the "new normal" and the traditional office as we've known it won't come back soon.

  2. Organizations will double their usage of cloud-based video conferencing and collaboration tools in 2021, resulting in more compliance violations. The vast majority of video users will turn on their cameras most or all of the time – leading to video hosts suffering from unintended incidents as their cameras capture NSFW events or controversial background scenes. This will result in an increased amount of compliance violations.

  3. New collaboration features such as person-to-person payments will make security a headache. Collaboration platforms will add new, dynamic features at a furious pace that will make it more difficult to monitor and configure security options. These platforms and APIs will be built to facilitate new activities, like sending and receiving payments, that will further increase the risky and regulated activities on those platforms – forcing companies to increase the security and compliance of their API and integration features.

  4. Collaboration security will be a top priority for government. Incumbent collaboration tools (Zoom, Teams, Webex) are going to get dragged into conversations about privacy law and big tech, further pressuring them to stay on top of security and compliance capabilities. At least two regulatory agencies will make explicit statements about regulatory obligations to retain and supervise collaboration conversations. Additionally, collaboration tools will replace many call center interactions and force organizations on related compliance, privacy, and security risks.

  5. Regulators will no longer show compliance-related leniency to the financial services industry. The existing no-action letters allowing for the adjustment to temporary work-from-anywhere environments will lapse, and regulators will expect finance firms to adhere to communication compliance requirements even in a remote workplace that uses collaboration tools. This will cause fines and enforcement actions to surge in 2021 for communication supervision failures, surpassing 2020 numbers.

  6. Collaboration-related personal injury lawsuits will begin to crop up. There will be a wave of court cases involving bad conduct and abuse within online meetings across video, voice, and chat interactions. Public examples of sensitive, non-public, personal, and/or proprietary data exposed by employers, employees, and/or customers during collaboration sessions across video, voice, and chat interactions will increase.

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