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Xavier Coemelck: Post Pandemic Normality: 2021 Predictions on Digital Identities, Remote Working and Remote Healthcare

Xavier Coemelck, Regional Vice President of Sales & Services at Entrust, considers what priorities will be key for organisations in 2021

As we put 2020 behind us, remote working, digital identity authentication and remote healthcare are going to be key priorities – here are my predictions for the year ahead:

  • Identity proofing tools will become standard operating procedure: Originally designed for consumers to safely access online accounts, will rapidly grow in popularity to facilitate the onboarding of new and existing remote employees. These authentication tools will allow staff members to securely access organisation networks and materials with robust identification methods will be the focus of IT security teams for the coming year and will be integral to a business model of the future. 


  • 2021 will herald the rise of digital identities: Once the subject of sci-fi literature, personal data such as name, employment and government identification will become directly linked with you as an individual and will bring a new level of security to every aspect of our lives. From being used to verify the attendees of online meetings to authenticating individual access to secure networks, a digital identity will be the standard security protocol in 2021. The transition to digital credentials will be increasingly used in a widespread improvement in digital security for collaborative working tools and platforms that have required investment and attention for some time.


  • Organisations of all sizes will prioritise IT efficiency and security with additional investment: As a result of the operational strain existing IT infrastructure has been under during the pandemic, leaders will look more than ever for efficiency from IT infrastructure leading to the accelerated adoption of cloud platforms and security infrastructure like Public Key Infrastructure (PKI). Historically only a priority for larger enterprises in the coming year businesses of all sizes, from SMEs to corporations, will invest in efficiency and security technology but the challenge will be reshape network security, access management and data protection in ways that empower employees and enable productivity and efficiency rather than hinder it. After being decimated by ransomware attacks and data breaches in 2020, healthcare will get serious about IT security in 2021, making it a top priority for their organisation and their technology partners. Like the financial industry has done, healthcare will secure its supply chain – people, devices, data and machines – with a strong root of trust underpinned by digital certificates for secure signing, encryption, and authentication.


  • Remote healthcare will replace traditional care methods: Like the shift to remote working, the move to digital healthcare delivery will become a permanent trend driven by convenience, cost, ability to scale, safety and, in many regions, patient demographics. We’ll most likely see health apps, virtual GP visits and connected wearable technologies replacing traditional in-person treatment options and even begin distributing care methods. This will herald a new age in medical care after a period of criticism of health providers for being behind the times. 


  • Healthcare providers will digitise or disappear. As treatment methods become more remote we expect the further digitalisation of healthcare administration and support, including processes like: identity proofing for remote patient onboarding, the secure prescription and dispensing of medication (with services such as TrustedX) and identity proofing to verify medical staff identification. This digitalisation will bring about a level of convenience and efficiency that providers have been looking for and patients will come to expect.


Finally, our digital and physical worlds will continue to converge until it is impossible to discern where one starts and the other ends. Central to navigating this new reality is your trusted digital identity. Ultimately, you won’t have one identity for work, one for mobile banking, another to travel, and so on. The future is one trusted digital citizen identity that can be used everywhere and that future begins in 2021.