Remote work happened overnight, by necessity rather than by design: Sumed Marwaha, MD, Unisys India

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August 09, 2021 1:15 AM

With most, if not all employees working remotely, firms are focused on the kind of workplace technology and overall experience offered to their staff so as to ensure greater productivity, collaboration and consequently, better customer outcomes.

SUMED MARWAHA, Regional Services VP & MD, Unisys IndiaSUMED MARWAHA, Regional Services VP & MD, Unisys India

In India, businesses across sectors such as BFSI, manufacturing, e-commerce, healthcare, and government are moving to the cloud ecosystem. This movement to the cloud is associated with cybersecurity risks as the traditional perimeter security can no longer protect the enterprise network from malicious attackers. Sumed Marwaha, regional services vice-president and managing director for Unisys India, talks to Sudhir Chowdhary about cybersecurity evolving with the Covid-19 outbreak and the importance of cloud in a hybrid working model. Excerpts:

Why is migrating to the cloud becoming imperative for businesses across sectors?
When the pandemic struck, cloud adoption emerged as a cost-effective and viable approach towards operating remotely and providing seamless access to organisational data and resources to employees. The benefits that cloud technology offers are:

Reduced capital expenditure: With cost pressures mounting, the pay-per-use model offered by cloud technologies helps organisations as they now have the option to convert capital expenditure to operational expenditure.

Greater flexibility: The fast provisioning and resulting flexibility offered by cloud technology helps firms respond faster to varying market and customer demands.

Greater resilience: The high availability and low latency of cloud make it a viable technology backbone for remote working.

Even in the post-pandemic world, remote and hybrid models of working are expected to continue, as is the continued adoption of cloud technology. With growing awareness among both cloud service providers and organisations as well as improvements in cloud security, challenges prohibiting the adoption of cloud are being addressed more effectively, driving greater adoption of cloud technology.

How are hybrid workplace models altering cloud strategies for enhancing employee experience?
Workplace technology is an important dimension of employee experience. With most, if not all employees working remotely, firms are focused on the kind of workplace technology and overall experience offered to their staff so as to ensure greater productivity, collaboration and consequently, better customer outcomes. The remote and hybrid ways of working are expected to continue even after the pandemic as organisations and employees have realised the merits of operating this way. However, some of the key challenges of working in this manner are providing seamless access to enterprise data, applications and resources to employees as well as enabling effective collaboration. Adoption of cloud technology has proven to be an effective approach towards addressing these challenges. Increased efficiency, ease of deployment, remote accessibility and facilitation of collaboration – these are some of the benefits offered by cloud technology that make it a priority in the world of hybrid or remote working.

Why should IT leaders prioritise cloud adoption and training for employees? What kind of steps has Unisys India implemented on this front?
The pandemic has changed workplaces and workforces significantly. Remote work happened overnight, by necessity rather than by design. The Digital Workplace Insights Report, an IDC White Paper sponsored by Unisys reveals that across the globe, almost 40% of the workforce was forced to shift to remote ways of working almost overnight, while the remaining 60% continued to adapt and find new, safer ways to do their jobs. With the workforce scattered to home offices, enabling secure access to enterprise data and resources became a priority and cloud technology, the viable approach to this.

Unisys is focused on the cloud and infrastructure space and has partnerships with leading players in this space such as AWS, Microsoft Azure and Google Cloud. Our cloud teams are continually getting trained and certified on varied cloud technologies to keep them abreast of the technological changes and innovations in this space.

What are some of the best practices and security protocols to be followed by businesses, to curb network or cloud-related cyber threats?
Cybersecurity is a key priority for all firms, especially in the new normal. Some of the best practices firms can follow to curb network or cloud-related cyber threats are:

  • Less use of old-style VPNs that don’t scale and more use of Zero Trust processes and technology, including always-on encrypted direct access, identity verification tools and a software-defined perimeter to limit the damage from malware.
  • Look beyond “winning” with security and focus on resilience and trust. A proper focus on trust and resilience could be the difference between whether an organisation recovers or not.
  • Be forward-facing: Prioritise and implement adoption of next-generation cyber tools.
  • Focus on the human angle of cybersecurity.

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