As America became a work-from-home nation this spring, IT teams found themselves scrambling to support their colleagues’ business needs. Although many businesses strive to support remote work, and the technology for doing so has been rapidly improving, few were fully prepared for entire organizations to become remote all at once.
The change exposed gaps in organizations’ IT stacks in three particular areas: business continuity, network capacity and cybersecurity. Here’s what IT teams found, and what they’ve been doing to patch holes:
- Business continuity. Most continuity plans should hold as long as the business has subjected them to regular stress tests and invested in the right mix of technologies — especially endpoints, collaboration, security and data storage. Those that haven’t taken those steps have been playing catch-up. As Gartner analyst Sandy Shen told CIO magazine: “This is a wake-up call to organizations that focus on daily operational needs at the expense of investing in digital business and long-term resilience.”
- Network capacity. VPNs were under unprecedented stress, with usage surging by 53 percent in the U.S. between March 9 and 15, by one estimate. Businesses that rely more heavily on Software as a Service applications are in a better position, as these can be accessed without a VPN.
- Security. Threat actors are busy exploiting human fear with new phishing scams designed to look like urgent alerts or offers for help. At the same time, with all employees working remotely, the security of endpoint devices is coming under greater scrutiny. To protect networks, CIOs have been reinforcing data-hygiene tips for staff and re-examining their data security policies.