Firms must be prepared to scale up its cloud capabilities and ramp its VPN (Virtual Private Network) capacity to manage a surge in demand for secure remote connections.
COVID-19 has brought the world to a standstill. The pandemic has wrecked endless and widespread human calamity. At a time when the socio-economic activities have been severely disrupted, it’s quite challenging for any organization to continue to work and sustain the business. In these difficult times, safeguarding lives and business interests is of utmost concern while putting business continuity plans in place.
From a crisis preparedness point of view, many organizations do have BCP (Business Continuity Planning) policy in place. But we are not sure if any organization has prepared itself for a pandemic situation like COVID-19. The sheer magnitude and scale of the disaster inflicted by the current pandemic are unprecedented, and it will have far-reaching implications in the long run.
Today, it’s imperative for organizations to safeguard the interest of its customers, partners, employees, contractors, etc. Thus, CIOs must have a holistic view of the situation while crafting the strategy on business continuity. IT teams must exploit cloud applications and services for collaboration and networking. Depending upon the demand of these services, the organization must be prepared to scale up its cloud capabilities and ramp its VPN (Virtual Private Network) capacity to manage a surge in demand for secure remote connections.
Some of the ICT tools such as Microsoft Teams, LifeSize, SharePoint, OneDrive are very helpful in ensuring uninterrupted, large scale collaboration with ease. Organizations are using IoT applications, artificial intelligence and machine learning for remote monitoring of the project.
While implementing remote working, CIOs face a major challenge in securing diverse endpoints and decentralized networks. Issues like congested network or weak bandwidth can prove to be detrimental to the whole process of remote working. CIOs can implement the UYOD (Use Your Device) policy, which enables people to use personal laptops while working from a remote location. The use of mobile solutions comes as an easy solution especially in location/pockets where the internet network is an issue.
Cybercriminals are taking advantage of the current situation and have unleashed a flurry of attacks on individuals working remotely. We have witnessed a sudden spurt in targeted phishing and ransomware incidents, which could lead to data loss, financial frauds, and breach of privacy. These organized cyber-attacks are putting IT security of an organization to a stress test. The remote working facility comes up with a massive implication on IT security systems, especially on network and application security. Whereas organizations do have good information security capabilities around office IT infrastructure, the employee’s home IT infrastructure is vulnerable to cyberattacks. Therefore, the IT teams should also adequately help and guide users to secure the systems deployed for remote working.
With a constricted revenue and cash flows, companies will squeeze their IT budgets in the coming days. CIOs will be under pressure to redraw their strategy on cost reduction, ROI, resource utilization, discretionary spending. Extraordinary situations like these demand creative and innovative solutions to the problems.
The COVID-19 pandemic has huge learning for all organizations. The world will not remain the same, and enterprise work will be more dependent on technology. To survive, succeed and stay ahead, the organization must digitally transform itself. We have learned how to execute remote working, with minimal impact on productivity and speed of decision making.
It’s a VUCA world. As the world grapples with mayhem created by the COVID-19 pandemic, it is crucial to safeguard sustainability of business beyond ensuring business continuity. While CIOs are doing every bit to enable safe, secure, and seamless remote working, it’s also a perfect time for an organization to re-look its digital transformation strategy. The organization should align itself to the new reality and must have digitization at its core of the business strategy.
Manoj Deorukhkar is Chief Information Officer at Sterling & Wilson. Views expressed are the author’s personal.