How will COVID-19 Impact Digital Transformation?
William Grove April 9, 2020
We’re all still feeling the fallout from the onset of the COVID-19 crisis: it has impacted the way we live, the way we work and will have hindered some business’ new business initiatives, including a number of large-scale digital transformation efforts. The impact of the shift which businesses have been forced to take as a result of COVID-19 will likely be felt for a long time. The new ways of working which many are currently adapting to aren’t going to go away after the initial chaos dies down – this period is going to reshape the workforce and reposition digital transformation priorities in the long term.
The corporate world is going to be very different when we stop sheltering in place. Our current situation is a real test of how efficient remote working can be – although some organizations will have had some remote working practices in place before the COVID-19 outbreak, relatively few would have had an entirely remote workforce. Teams are learning to collaborate in new ways, companies are realizing they are able to function properly without having people in the office and leadership is seeing that they don’t need to spend so much on office space. As a result, organizations will be forced to consider how to digitally transform in order to facilitate the needs of a mass, remote workforce.
COVID-19 is Changing Digital Transformation Priorities
In the short-term, some existing digital transformation projects – namely, large-scale initiatives – will likely slow down, while smaller changes that can improve efficiency and business continuity will speed up.
It’s only natural that overarching strategies are going to shift as a result of COVID-19. Businesses are now in survival mode. They know that it’s going to be hard to navigate the economic challenges which lie ahead and will want to press pause on expensive, riskier innovation in place of technology which will increase productivity, deliver a competitive edge and help drive the procurement of business.
Security priorities are also changing. The CISO and their team will now be focused on securing a remote workforce while maintaining the integrity of their assets. They will need to be able to check access and paths from remote workers and their home networks all the way down to corporate data centers and cloud services. There has never been a greater need for network visibility. Organizations are going to need to ensure they can continuously collect and efficiently analyze relevant data to keep the business running smoothly and securely.
Security Considerations Surrounding New Digital Transformation Initiatives
There are new security problems that will arise from business’ new digital transformation strategies. Silos that already exist within companies are only going to become smaller and more numerous. It’s important that organizations have strategies in place not just to improve communication between people, but between technologies and processes as well.
Then there are also problems innate to home networks, which are generally less secure than those which exist within corporate environments. And it’s not just your own employees you have to worry about; anyone sharing that home network could potentially be able to introduce new risk to corporate assets. Understanding how to mitigate that risk without affecting business functions is key.
Currently, securing remote workplaces will be a prime concern for many organizations and will form the bedrock for most new digital transformation initiatives that emerge in the coming months. Very few businesses can say that they’re currently set-up to do so at this scale and will, rightly, be shifting their transformation priorities to survive our current health and economic crisis.