As the coronavirus pandemic thrust companies around the world into remote working environments, organizations have had to quickly find solutions that enable them to stay up and running to serve their customers in the midst of uncertain change. Leading the charge for many organizations has been the CIO.
While millions of employees moved from in-office desktops and infrastructure to at-home workstations, CIOs had to ensure not only that employees could access necessary networks and applications, but that those networks could support the significant increase in demand. Not to mention, additional security considerations that are now more critical than ever given the increase in bad actor issues.
Many of the move’s organizations have made to ensure business continuity during this time have been done in haste, mainly focused on the short-term. But as workforces remain remote for the foreseeable future, the efforts of CIOs to keep digital transformation efforts on track will be critical to ensure organizations emerge from the COVID-19 crisis stronger and more resilient than before.
The Cloud Is No Longer Just a Consideration
If IT leaders learn one lesson from the pandemic, it’s that investing in cloud technology is an absolute necessity. The positives that come from the ability to access data and applications from anywhere have never been so pronounced. Plus, the cloud has enabled employees to continue to collaborate in real-time, even when they’re miles apart.
Many organizations have been slow to adopt a cloud strategy — whether due to time, resources, or buy-in from senior business leaders delaying their digital transformation. But under the duress of the coronavirus, businesses around the world have been pushed to use the cloud to stay up and running. Now, CIOs must use the lessons learned from these moves to start building a cloud strategy that can endure long beyond the current era.
Security Must Be a Priority
While your business operates remotely, focusing on security is more important than ever. Keeping your network safe and your data secure requires a team effort, from the CIO to your IT team to each individual employee. The first step is looking at your business’s infrastructure and systems and identifying and mitigating any vulnerabilities. Then, creating policies and processes to ensure every employee is bought in and committed to keeping the business secure. Your business may consider enabling multi-step authentication, securing devices like laptops and phones with an encrypted VPN, and establishing a regular mandatory schedule for updating passwords.
Employee Connection Should Be Top of Mind
This is a pivotal moment when it comes to remote working. It’s likely many companies will find remote work is the most sustainable path forward and will continue the practice after the crisis subsides. It’s critical employees feel empowered to work from home as well. To keep productivity, as well as morale, high, CIOs must ensure employees feel valued even when they’re far from the office and are provided the appropriate tools to continue doing their jobs well.
To keep the remote workforce running, CIOs need to enable employees with both the equipment they need — laptops, secure access to necessary networks, collaboration tools — as well as information and communication. Whether it’s just during this crisis or to carry into the future, a remote workforce will only be as strong as the connection between workers and the business, and it’s up to CIOs to ensure nobody is in the dark or left without the proper tools.
Few could have predicted such a sudden shift to our current robust workforce. But now that businesses have taken on this challenge, it’s time to start looking toward what comes next. Until we’re back in the office, the CIO will continue leading the next steps for remote working. By prioritizing employees, security, and a cloud-forward infrastructure, CIOs can carry their teams through this time, and help to structure a future that is equipped to handle remote working, no matter the circumstance. Have questions? CentriLogic is here to help.