2022 Cloud-native Trends: Need for AuthZ and OPA Will Grow

3 min read

It’s that time of year again — full of ugly sweaters, holiday cookies and technology predictions (cloud-native style)! Last year, we predicted that we’d see continued Kubernetes adoption, focus on DevSecOps in organizations and open source dominance . This year, we sat down with our co-founder and CTO, Tim Hinrichs and our CEO Bill Mann to hear a few of their predictions for the open source and cloud-native authorization market.

Q: In what ways can we expect the use of cloud native to grow and evolve in 2022?

Prediction: More organizations will shift their on-prem technologies to the cloud in 2022. 

Tim Hinrichs: As cloud-native is adopted by organizations that traditionally take longer adopting new technology, we will see an increase in lift-and-shift styles of cloud-migration. This in turn will put pressure on Identity and Access Management (IAM) teams that are responsible for providing entitlements for their organization’s back-office applications to migrate those systems to the cloud as well. So, we’ll see a sizable uptick in companies replicating fragments of their legacy LDAP (Lightweight Directory Access Protocol) and AD (Active Directory), which often back those on-prem entitlements systems, into the cloud.

Q: What trend should IT leaders give the most attention to in 2022? Why?

Prediction: Security teams will embrace cloud-native tools that automate manual checks. 

Tim: Security is changing from “here’s a laundry list of things to do and to avoid” into “here are the software tools that remove the need to even know those lists exist.” There is simply no way to embrace the speed, dynamism and flexibility of cloud-native while adhering to manual processes for security, compliance and operations. As an IT leader, until your teams are thinking about security, compliance and operations this way, you’re not really into cloud production in a meaningful way. Conversely, if you are in production in the cloud in a meaningful way, and teams aren’t thinking this way, you should be worried.

Q: We saw a lot of authorization vendors / projects emerge this year — how do you see the market changing next year? 

Prediction: By the end of next year, we will see a clear authorization market.

Bill Mann: We’ll have more clarity around vendors and key players in the space. It is going to move from something people are still trying to understand to something they know the importance of. We’re seeing more and more activity around cloud-native authorization – for example, there are now over 100M downloads of Open Policy Agent (OPA), our customers are requiring more full feature enterprise grade products around cloud-native authz and industry analysts are paying close attention to the space. Next year, it is only going to get bigger.

Q: One of the biggest anticipated issues in the IT sector in 2022 is the continued talent shortage. What do you predict businesses will do in response and what strategies will they deploy in order to attract more talent, stay business ready, etc.?

Prediction: Open source will help combat the talent shortage. 

Tim: One way to combat talent shortage is to pool talent from different companies to build joint projects that benefit the world and then give them away for free (open-source). I expect that in response to talent-shortage, we will see even more investment into — and most certainly increased adoption of — open-source projects. When it’s hard to hire and pay people to build the software you need, using open-source software provided by the community is mightily attractive. 

Q: What types of technologies do you see accelerating in 2022? 

Prediction: There will be an acceleration in what we call “common services” or “building block” technologies.

Bill: Common services are technologies that every company/developer needs, but that doesn’t differentiate their code/service/product. An example of this is authorization. Many developers know they need authorization, but do not want to focus their time on it, so they are looking for technologies that are already built to address it.

Q: Any predictions for the OPA community and authorization adoption as companies continue to digitally transform?

Prediction: OPA’s adoption will increase across verticals. 

Tim: Today, OPA is used heavily in regulated verticals like finance and healthcare, but as the need for security frameworks within an organization increases, so too will the adoption of OPA and its community grow across additional verticals. OPA provides a framework for an organization to grapple with the need to automate as many security checks as possible for infrastructure and a framework for teams to implement security within their application. More microservice architectures mean more OPA; more cloud-native adoption means more OPA.

Want to learn more about OPA and cloud-native authorization? Check out the OPA slack channel or speak with one of our experts today!

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