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Four Thoughts, Three Weeks In: Staying the Course During COVID-19

A Message from Jay Keating, SVP of Service Delivery & Managed Services, GreenPages

Roughly three weeks ago, the United States declared the beginning of a National Emergency in response to the global pandemic caused by a novel Coronavirus and the related COVID-19 disease. Aside from the clear and present health and economic concerns that most people are understandably distracted by, IT professionals see multiple key themes emerging in the technical landscape around us. I’d like to touch on four of these themes in particular below.

Infrastructure Modernization
Many IT infrastructures were simply under-built to handle the speed and magnitude with which office-based workers suddenly pivoted to work from home. This quick shift in operating model and related connectivity requirements is taxing remote access technologies, Wide Area Networks, and support teams. Though many larger and regulated organizations have elements of Business Continuity Plans (BCP) in place, we’re seeing that a large percentage of those BCP frameworks were only notionally flexed and validated prior to needing to activate them. Many organizations are now accelerating investments to beef up solutions that their staff and customers will now depend upon daily for the foreseeable future.

Security, Risk, and Compliance
Simply put, our networks are now essentially edgeless. Corporate connectivity reaches into many of our employees’ homes and from edge devices that are often not controlled by IT staff. Organizations must now quickly assess and fortify their security landscape in response to this rapid change. We’re seeing many clients focusing heavily on ensuring their anti-virus approaches cover employee owned equipment, as well as reevaluating their in-flight and at-rest data encryption solutions. In addition, Security Information and Event Management (SIEM) is another key imperative for many organizations to give them real-time analysis of security alerts generated by applications and network hardware, with fewer false-positives to investigate.

Cloud Enablement & Operations
Cloud is proving to be a significant pressure-relief value for clients who have already migrated mission-critical workloads to public cloud providers. These organizations can be less worried than their counterparts about sending employees into data centers to check on operations and functionality, especially in light of current state mandates to work remotely and limit travel and congregation. Cloud-based organizations also have increased flexibility to scale their infrastructures and user counts up and down as needed to accommodate very real business challenges that lay ahead for many industries. The cost management side of public cloud will be a significant advantage to these public cloud customers as long as they have the people, processes, and technologies to rapidly and effectively assess and activate their options.

Digital Transformation
In addition to the foundational elements above (connectivity, security, and cost management), we also see businesses leveraging BI and Analytics to maintain vigilance over their supply chains, internal inventories, and customer buying patterns. I just read a stat published by a survey conducted by the Institute for Supply Management, that almost 75 percent of U.S. businesses have experienced supply chain disruption because of COVID-19. This is a significant logistical and financial hurdle for many organizations, but not unsurmountable. While companies that rely on supply chains are prepared to pivot to a “Plan B” if one or two sources dry up, many don’t have further contingency plans in place for the larger disruption we’re currently facing. Now more than ever, insights gleaned from BI and Analytics can help prepare companies to better navigate this challenging supply and demand landscape, with predictive analytics helping to meet forecasted demand over a wide variety of timeframes and disaster situations.

Please stay well and let us know if we can help you explore any of the topics above or if there are any other needs your organization has. In the meantime, we created a resource page of current partner special offers and promotions to help IT organizations more quickly and successfully support remote workforces.