There was a time, not so long ago, when IT teams felt they were in relative control of their IT environments – the endpoints, the users using the endpoints, the connections to the endpoints, and the configurations tying the endpoints to the mothership.
That, as they say, was then. Now, as COVID-19 sends a shockwave through IT infrastructures all over the world, everybody is scrambling to catch up and deal with the impact and strain of having all users moving away from the closed and secured networks.
Having 95 percent of your workforce working from home, rather than the five percent your infrastructure is designed to cope with, has been a deep-dive into the wonders of the digital workplace:
The priority communicated from C-level is clear and unequivocal:
Keep all wheels in motion, to the best of your ability.
For end-users, focus has consequently been on understanding and utilizing the collaboration and data sharing tools which have become veritable lifelines, these past weeks.
And for IT teams, focus has been on performance and stability first; security and control, second.
Performance and stability, first
Performance and stability is critical to keep end users working and delivering, to keep the business healthy. For all-cloud infrastructures, with streamlined processes and policies, and high user adoption on services, the transition to the “IT COVID-19 Style” har not been an issue – expect that video and audio quality has been impaired by the rest of the world joining.
And when the various stages of isolation and seclusion ends, these organizations will find it easy to settle back in to everyday work life, because they never really did anything else.
But very few organizations are ‘all cloud’, and all-in on modern management, yet: Most are hybrid, and many — a lot! — are in the quite early stages of user adoption, process maturity and technology configuration.
This crisis has made it clear to everyone that:
1) IT performance, maturity and agility are probably the most deciding factors, for whether a business can weather a crisis on this scale comfortably, or is on the brink of collapse.
2) Modern Management, Digital Workplace, and Cloud are not futuristic visions – they’re here, now, and it’s best for your business to get on board.
Security and control, second
For IT operations in organizations who are only ‘on-the-way-to-cloud’ — that’s the majority — IT operations have had to make concessions and compromise on other tasks, to meet the businesses expectations for performance and the derived stability requirements.
A classical scenario in most organizations, is to adopt a “freeze” policy to establish and maintain stability: That means no roll-outs of updates and upgrades throughout the infrastructure – including configuration and security updates.
So not only do you have end users logging on to their corporate endpoints from not-secure public and private networks, visiting shady addresses. Their endpoints are also not updated on a regular basis, because all update roll-outs have been put on hold for the time been, sacrificed on the altar of performance and stability …
(And in case you are wondering: Yes, they do use their work devices to check up on the latest Corona news, and sanitizer availability, whatever your corporate policy is!)
How do you prepare for the office-coming?
While IT departments were unprepared and not geared to have a much larger number of users working-from-home than their infrastructures are designed to accommodate, it is possible to prepare for everyone coming home.
The most important task for any organization in preparation for back-to-business is assessment and planning:
Business and IT need to ask each other:
1. What state is your IT in? Is it operational?
2. Do you have the right and enough resources to take the pressure of unexpected workloads?
3. How much visibility do you have to your endpoints?
4. How much control do you have of your endpoints? Now, when they are offsite. And later, when they come back?
5. What are your capabilities for handling problems and threats, as the need arises?
6. Is top management on board? Can you provide them with solid intelligence that can support decisions?
And you need to do all the prep you can, while it’s still reasonably quiet. First order of practical business should be:
Update. Update absolutely everything – as much as you can, in the state you’re currently in.
Want to know more? Get in touch, or
Read more about that in Kent Agerlund’s blog post
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