January 11, 2021 | Layne Levine

3 IT trends to watch out for in 2021

Summary: The acceleration of remote work, cloud networking and touchless consumerism is pointing towards some fundamental changes in enterprise networks. See what’s topping IT’s agenda in 2021.

With a sigh of relief and a toast of “good riddance,” we’ve said farewell to 2020. Now we turn our gaze forward, with an optimistic outlook full of new possibilities and opportunities for IT in 2021. Here’s what I see unfolding in enterprise networking this year.

3 IT trends to watch out for in 2021

Edge security will get SASE

Last year’s remote networking boom, along with the ongoing migration to cloud apps and services, virtually dissolved network edges. More enterprise network traffic is traversing public broadband than ever before, which could be a nightmare for IT departments trying to secure access to network resources.

Enter secure access service edge (SASE). Pronounced “sassy,” SASE is an architecture that converges network access and security into platform managed by common policies. It decentralizes access enforcement to resources (data, system, network) which have historically been network centric and enables more dynamic, user-centric security by running key security capabilities—encryption, firewall, access control and more—throughout the network. With no sign of remote networking going away, you’ll be hearing a lot more about SASE as the year progresses.

Big data will become more ubiquitous in software-defined networking

As SD-WAN adoption continues to surge in the market, the ability to integrate big data capabilities is gaining momentum. Big data can maximize SD-WAN’s potential for responsive provisioning, effective bandwidth use and precise performance tuning.

Harnessing network data for actionable insights requires gathering and aggregating datasets from various inputs—such as voice, LAN services, SaaS cloud providers, security and so on—into a data lake. Algorithms process and surface the results as insights, while machine learning and process automation can be incorporated to automate traditional manual tasks.

Since SD-WAN provides a tremendous amount of data, IT departments rolling out SD-WAN will be looking to analytics and data management to make the most of the technology.

Digital and mobile commerce will pick up momentum

Nowadays, services like buy online and pick up in-store (BOPIS), curbside pickup, food delivery, contactless payment and self-checkout are the norm. With more shopping options at their disposal, customer expectations for personalization and convenience are at a new all-time high. They want a frictionless shopping journey without disruptions as they cross individual channels or locations before they arrive at the online checkout.

Providing seamless interactions with customers starts with a deep look into at the technology powering the buyer’s journey. By moving transaction, merchandising and fulfillment activities to a centralized platform, retailers can adopt more agile digital commerce applications. This need will drive the development of single, unified commerce platforms forward in 2021.

WE will help your business thrive

At Windstream Enterprise, we are committed to helping enterprises prepare for these rising enterprise networking trends in 2021.

How so?

Our SD-WAN Concierge combines SD-WAN, distributed cloud firewalls and remote access to support a SASE architecture that secures all your connections—including broadband internet—and enables secure remote working.

This solution also supports big data integration driven by our Insight Engine that can automatically change routing decisions in response to real-time network conditions, as well as algorithms that process and surface the results as actionable insights via WE Connect, our intuitive and adaptive graphical interface.

And we are always innovating our proprietary OfficeSuite UC® product, named by Gartner in their 2020 UCaaS Magic Quadrant, to help enterprises offer personalized, ubiquitous and meaningful experiences for employees and customers alike.

Last year was all about adapting to unforeseen shifts impacting the enterprise and keeping up with the rate of change. This year, organizations will stop playing catch up and start taking the necessary steps to fully embrace digital transformation. There’s no better time than the beginning of a brand-new year to prepare for these emerging IT trends—WE will be here every step of the way to support you.


Key takeaway: With SASE-ready SD-WAN, integrated big data from our Insight Engine and our ongoing UC innovation, Windstream Enterprise is committed to helping enterprise IT seize new opportunities in 2021.
President of Enterprise

Layne Levine

Layne is responsible for sales, financial performance, marketing for the company’s enterprise, mid-market, and commercial markets. He also oversees the company’s Channel Program.