The pandemic created a wave of uncertainty that wiped out traditional ways of conducting business, and left enterprises no choice but to adapt to the new normal.
Work from home was the most tangible effect of the pandemic. It shook enterprise operations and demanded remote working almost overnight. While IT teams have always held an integral role in the enterprise, their role was more prominent than ever in supporting this new model. CIOs had the onus of ensuring that while employees and business partners worked off-site, they were equipped with the right tools and training to work uninterrupted to keep the lights on.
Enterprises already on the path of digital transformation were well prepared for the volatile situations, while others scrambled to cope with the sudden demand for technology assets.
“Think of digital transformation less as a technology project to be finished than as a state of perpetual agility, always ready to evolve for whatever customers want next, and you’ll be pointed down the right path.”
– Amit Zavery, VP and Head of Platform, Google Cloud
Let’s take a moment to realize how IT teams enabled entire organizations to work remote, on short notice, and with limited resources. Moving forward, it’s integral that IT teams take lessons from the past and get prepared with reliable, flexible, and scalable solutions and approaches.
In this blog, we’ll discuss how CIOs can embrace the changes born by the pandemic and future-proof their enterprise.
1. Upgrading Legacy Technology
Shortcomings of legacy systems were exposed during working from home and coping with rapid business changes. Accessing the company’s data and communicating with clients from multiple locations and devices stretched the existing resources thin; it invited threats and vulnerabilities due to an unsecured work environment, raising alarming concerns.
The spike in the number of cyberattacks revealed the security landscape for many businesses. Globally, the average cost of a data breach in 2020 was $3.86M, as stated in an IBM report. Therefore, to succeed in the digital era where collaboration and communication are fueling growth and innovation, it’s integral to upgrade network and security infrastructure.
Hence, revamping or upgrading your data centers is a great strategy — identifying gaps, upgrading existing technologies, and embracing new ones like SSL VPN, ADCs and firewalls, protect web and mobile applications. It protects your enterprise against increased threats arising from remote work, making your enterprise ready for distributed networks. Here are a few more reasons upgrading your infrastructure is a smart move:
- Enables the enterprise to work uninterrupted
- Provides scalable solution
- Creates cost-efficiencies
- Safeguards company’s data and network
- Ensure business continuity
Finally, delivering exceptional client service while ensuring employee productivity remains vital.
2. Driving a Digital-First Approach
The pandemic has raised the bar – from adopting cloud technologies to remote work and getting prepared for the hybrid working, CIOs have embraced work from home situations and delivered to their employees, clients and customers during the toughest of times.
While the pandemic necessitated delivering services with speed and security, CIOs now need to drive a digital-first approach in the organization to maintain standards. It’s time for CIOs to emerge as leaders on the road towards successful digital transformation where enterprises have a suitable business model fueled by the latest technology. The right technology mix should fuel scalability, innovation, and rapic service delivery while keeping cost and complexity low.
Digital transformation should:
- Enable employees to work in modern environments
- Ensure business continuity
- Deliver an exceptional client experience
- Adopt to cloud technologies
Moreover, IDC predicts that:
“By 2022, 65% of CIOs will digitally empower and enable frontline workers with data, AI, and security to extend their productivity, adaptability, and decision-making in the face of rapid changes.”
3. Maintaining Agility & Resilience
“Change is the only constant” – this quote could not be more relevant in today’s times. While the pandemic has filled the CIO’s plate with responsibilities, it has also presented an opportunity to come forward as a leader. These volatile and complex situations demand businesses embrace agile approaches to customer experience, employee productivity, operations, security and more.
CIOs can foster a culture of agility by introducing new technology to support changes and encourage implementing the same. For example, automation can be a game-changer if employees hand over the mundane, repetitive tasks to AI/ML and bot technologies.
Another example could be educating employees on basic security parameters to keep malicious emails, and other cybercrime traps at bay.
Technology can unlock employees’ productivity and fill in gaps created by remote work by enabling communication and collaboration.
4. Being Prepared for the Hybrid Workforce
While it was initially mandatory to work from home, employers have now realized working off-site can be productive. Plus, it has some added benefits like cutting costs, tapping into the global workforce, and retaining talent. Therefore, there’s another challenge that CIOs need to buckle up for – a hybrid workforce. Companies envision a future where some employees will be working from home, some from the office, and some from both. Therefore, using personal and office devices inside and out of the company could put your company at an elevated risk of threats. Plus, if this scenario comes to life, it will be a treat for hackers!
In this case, it’s integral to always keep the technology up to date and avoid threats like zero-day attacks and phishing.
Fortunately, there are some ways CIOs can manage and mitigate risks in the new environment. Firstly, it’s integral to understand that people need a social connection, which they lacked during the pandemic – social interaction over coffee breaks, face-to-face meetings, and more. That’s why fostering a culture of collaboration and communication is paramount. By introducing ways to stay connected and hosting group meetings or video sessions, employees won’t lack the social connection and stay engaged.
Moreover, working from various locations can raise data and security confidentiality concerns. Not to forget, employees working from home do not have the same resources as those working in offices. It’s hence vital to ensure employees have the right set of tools, technology, and training needed to continue their work and set some policies in place to ensure data confidentiality.
IT teams play a significant role in enabling the future of work, creating technology-fueled business models, and maintaining business resilience. While CIOs and their teams have worked hard to help their enterprise adopt an entirely new working style, it’s now time to learn from the pandemic and brace your enterprise for the future. Mitigating cyber risks and attacks, deploying modern technology, and having a digital-first approach are vital for future CIOs.
Learn more about Array Network’s technology assets to upgrade your data centers and prepare for the next normal.