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Interview: Jason Duerden, SentinelOne ANZ

How has Australia coped with COVID-induced changes to operations and workplaces? Will things go back to a ‘new normal’ in 2022?

Australia, like all countries around the world, aggressively pivoted to remote working in 2020 due to COVID-19. Economic data suggests Australia has coped well with the adjustment with employment, and growth rates were relatively stable during the period. Industries such as hospitality and entertainment inevitably suffer as a result of lockdowns. Today, we are seeing a strong return to ‘new normal’ business operations and strong demand for flexible work at home arrangements alongside office work arrangements. Physical dependencies will no longer govern the workplace creation of 2022; people and talent enabled by online systems will be at the forefront of that requirement.

Which new technologies will reach critical mass and become dominant in 2022?

Artificial intelligence for automation will reach critical mass and become more dominant in 2022. Over the last few years we have seen the rapid rise of automation to increase efficiencies in things like customer service, self-service and rapid response. This is becoming ‘normalised’ as an expectation with more and more organisations adopting AI for automation. Whilst perhaps not ‘new’, the rapid adoption of AI for automation is new and will break into new fields including cybersecurity.

What is the major potential tech pain point that will face all organisations large and small in 2022?

Software vulnerabilities. Now more than ever, supply chain risk via software vendors is at an all-time high. Criminalisation of IT has rapidly increased over the past 10 years, beyond just nation state on nation state espionage, to full-scale ransom, high-value targeting and data exfiltration. Outside of stolen passwords and social engineering, exploitation of vulnerabilities in software is a huge risk facing organisations in 2022. The recent examples of Microsoft and SolarWinds vulnerabilities being exploited show this is a targeted area.

What’s on your tech wish list from governments, innovators and the wider industry in 2022?

Automation and transparency.

There are many services and industries in our lives today that will benefit from automation, to reduce costs, reduce emissions, provide new opportunities for people in new industries — renewable energy being one and cybersecurity being another. I wish for Australia to be a global leader in these fields. Within transparency, human beings are inherently sceptical of technology because most of us don’t understand it. Over the last 20 years, there have been numerous examples of big tech and governments walking the fine line of what’s right and wrong with regards to data usage and collection. I wish big tech and governments to be ethically responsible and think… “just because we could, doesn’t mean we should”. Economics drives all decisions; 2022 will be a pivotal year in determining what the future of post COVID-19 society looks like and what’s deemed important. Above all, securing our digital way of life is critical to the foundation of a stable and productive society.

Jason Duerden is the Regional Director for SentinelOne Australia and New Zealand, responsible for building and executing the business across Australia and New Zealand. Jason brings over 10 years of leadership, business management and technology acumen experience to SentinelOne with domain knowledge in the cyber arena and is an MBA candidate.

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