2021: The year of Repair, Revision and Renewal
For many Asia Pacific organisations, 2020 was meant to be the year many businesses started looking forward to the future. Many organisations began implementing long-term plans for cloud migration and started to test the waters of what it could mean for the future of their business. However, what once was merely foresight, quickly turned to reality, with many organisations having to speed up the digitisation process.
Thinking of all the possible ways you could have the most air-tight, secure solution was a luxury many businesses could no longer afford as they scrambled to try and maintain normality in light of the world shift to working from home.
A report from C-suite perspectives revealed that 76% of senior executives had their cloud migration accelerated due to the large-scale move to the mobile workplace, with many of us having to work from home. However, due to such a rapid change, several new challenges began to reveal themselves and the haste of the transition led to the development of security gaps in businesses infrastructure.
This lack of understanding of the threat landscape and the perceived security that public cloud vendors provide has resulted in 40% of senior execs seeing increased cybersecurity attacks during the pandemic.
Even still, this way of working is here to stay. The ability to work from home without the constant headache or time-crunch of whether it can be done effectively or not, many businesses see this as the way of the future.
Many c-suite execs expect to see the changes they made in people, processes and applications to be more than just an interim solution, with over 80% of leaders expecting a quarter of their employees to continue to work from home in the future.
In the past, large-scale operations such as this would be done over an extended period, however, due to how quickly businesses made the change, there has been a fire ignited in the bellies of businesses to become majorly, if not entirely digitalised in a much shorter time frame.
However, the biggest antagonist to this comes down to cybersecurity. For that reason, 2021 will be the year of patching holes and reverse-engineering the gaps in the network security, to further enable the workplace of the future and prepare many organisaitons for whatever may come next.
Investment in technology
During the lockdown, many organisations were fixated on trying to maintain normality as much as they could. This meant that their time was dedicated to steadying the ship to efficiently identify and manage costs to ensure customers, suppliers and employees could continue in the mobile workplace without too much disruption.
The unexpected business transformation brought about some long-term benefits aided by digitisation. C-Suite execs reported that employee productivity improved significantly as work-life balance had been redressed, leading to greater retention of workers who are enjoying the flexibility of working from anywhere.
The metrics a potential employee is measured by also faced a significant change, with location no longer being an issue, as well as providing businesses with a wider scope of people to choose from.
Due to the hikes in cyber attacks since the lockdown, c-suite execs have also become more acutely aware of the threats such attacks pose to a business, and how crucial it is to have a secure infrastructure going forward. No longer can employees rely on the security of the office network. The new office Wi-Fi is anywhere there is a wireless internet connection and the new office is now a lounge, cafe or bedroom. This means more exposure to cyber-attacks.
The rapid shift in business operations significantly impacted the cyber-threat landscape. As companies fast-tracked the migration of digital assets to the cloud, they inadvertently increased the attack surfaces from which hackers seek access to their data and applications.
Cybersecurity is a key business driver that has been the talk of many business execs and they have grown to know just how much of a must-have a comprehensive cyber-security plan in place is. It needs to be incorporated in the highest levels of strategic planning. Due to how quickly cyberattacks evolve in such short timeframes, many organisations will seek to automate detection and mitigation because of the sheer ferocity of the modern-day cyber-attack.
The road ahead
One of the many lessons learned from the pandemic is that when future-proofing a business, it has to be a comprehensive and all-encompassing solution. Nearly every aspect of an organisation was hit in a concentrated timeframe. Businesses that had a robust disaster recovery plan and agile IT infrastructure in place fared better than those that did not.
C-suite execs have grown in awareness, flexibility, and versatility against disruptions, and will continue to do so as the new year approaches, having a major focus on developing strategies that build resilience.
Over the next few years, organisations will continue investing in cloud-based solutions and a secure, agile IT infrastructure. This will include the likes of machine learning and AI.
This will create more agility and efficiency in business operations and provide a better digital experience for consumers. The changes will require a powerful, complex security posture that is both agile enough to evolve at the speed of business and robust enough to ensure protection against a rapidly expanding threat landscape that specifically targets the cloud.