The challenges of hybrid working: IT resilience and cyber security
The Coronavirus pandemic has accelerated digital transformation and adoption of latest technologies bringing about years of change in a short span of time. This has come with the re-shuffling of priorities for businesses, so they can quickly adapt to this new reality.
As businesses look to the next normal, the traditional notion of a workplace is being redefined. Workforces adopting different hybrid working models has led to the discovery of organisational gaps and vulnerabilities that may have been either previously unknown or left unaddressed.
This has allowed a whole set of new and diverse challenges to emerge, ranging from collaboration, cybersecurity, and IT resilience and agility to employee morale and getting the best out of remote workforces. Technology is now seen as a critical aspect of businesses rather than just something to enhance productivity or to reduce operating costs.
This series of articles looks at five key challenges of hybrid working and how to build resilience in all aspects of the business operating model. New strategies and practices are considered for business leaders to harness, facilitating continuous innovation and a strong competitive advantage in this digital age.
IT resilience and agility
Businesses are facing a challenge to operate a seamless remote working experience for their dispersed workforce. Many are also facing the separate challenge of having had to adapt quickly and adopt certain technologies without them being part of their planned IT strategy. For example, many have started to use digital signatures, without cloud-based solutions being part of their planned road map previously and therefore adopted without the normal full risk assessment.
It’s time to take stock, look at what has been implemented, revisit the IT strategy to make sure it’s still relevant in this new normal and then make sure the right security resilience is built up around it.
As part of the review of the IT strategy, businesses can look to migrate data and applications to the cloud to enable a seamless remote working experience by moving away from the traditional on-premises infrastructure to a more flexible, scalable and cost-effective cloud infrastructure. This comes with the added benefit of increasing business agility and accelerating innovation given deploying AI becomes much more straightforward.
The increased threat of cyber-attacks coupled with inadequate cybersecurity controls has raised significant concerns for business particularly where these controls are not sufficiently dynamic to adapt to different ways of working.
If businesses haven’t done so already, they should put in place a comprehensive cybersecurity strategy and also develop a robust cyber security framework that specifically considers remote working and other practices now being followed to set out a clear vision for the organisation. This means taking the time to identify and evaluate the cyber security threats facing the business and designing a risk-based framework of controls to address these threats.
Once the framework of cyber security controls is implemented and operating, businesses should measure its effectiveness for example by establishing a Security KPI dashboard, carrying out internal audits and commissioning external penetration testing. Cyber threats evolve over time, which means regular care and attention is needed.
It’s always prudent to be prepared for the worst. Even the best-prepared organisations sometimes fall victim to cyberattacks, and the way the organisation responds can make a material difference in reducing the impact of the attack on the organisation, its customers and other stakeholders. Planning is key – setting up a response team with clear responsibilities, along with practical response plans which are regularly practiced will make a marked difference in providing the required level of coordination and communication to effectively deal with a cyber-attack.