Automate to Adapt

Updated: May 5, 2020

How CIOs can overcome COVID-19 by adopting the next generation of IT solutions

It's really hard to imagine a more challenging scenario for CIOs than the rapidly evolving technological pressures posed by COVID-19. The past few years have been witness to incredible innovations in the development of software aimed at improving IT productivity, yet in many industries adoption has been slow. To survive is not enough, we need to implement software and solutions that produce operational efficiencies with alacrity. Here's how we, as technologists, can lead our organizations forward into a post-COVID-19 world with momentum.

Adapting IT to Workspace Evolution Brings New Challenges

It’s extremely rare to find a company in the world that's not reexamining its IT infrastructure right now. In America, most of the “knowledge worker” labor force has shifted almost overnight to a work-from-home (WFH) model, bringing about unprecedented expansion of intracompany networks and the associated disruption to security protocols and compliance procedures. The longer social distancing endures and our WFH models are maintained, odds are this new paradigm is (at least partially) here to stay. According to Kate Lister of Global Workplace Analytics, the end of 2021 will see around 25 to 30 percent of the US's labor force working remotely multiple days a week (up from 3.6% of the employee workforce working at home half-time or more at the time this forecast was published).

Even the best-positioned to deal with the pandemic large corporations in finance, tech, and media who have strong digital business models, in-house IT infrastructure expertise, and carefully examined IT security controls – are challenged each day to meet the moment. In the new world, CIOs have hundreds, if not thousands of endpoints, all accessing valuable information (including sensitive data and/or trade secrets) via home routers, which of course have other IoT devices and “visitors” that have become prey for a new wave of opportunistic cybercriminals. It's difficult to appreciate how vulnerable our systems are currently, and it's even harder to ascertain the potential exposure to a breach or repercussions of a data leak outside our traditional networks. 

These rapid changes have only exacerbated an already forecasted trend.  A recently published report conducted by the Poleman Institute in January stated that endpoint attacks that compromised data assets and IT infrastructure jumped from 54 percent in 20