Oct 06 2020

VMworld 2020: 4 Takeaways from This Year’s Event

From employee engagement to security, here’s what experts were saying at VMware’s biggest event of the year.

The working world has gone through a seismic shift during the COVID-19 pandemic. Aspects of everyday life, from commutes to visits with friends and family, have been fundamentally altered. 

For businesses, this has required new approaches to multiple aspects of operations, and technology has played a key role.

“We’re in the midst of a profound rethink across every dimension of our lives,” said VMware CEO Pat Gelsinger at VMworld 2020. “How we care for our sick, how we connect, how we live, how we worship, how we learn and how we work. At the center of this profound rethink is digital innovation.”

Gelsinger acknowledged that IT teams have been crucial in moving through these changing times.

“As we navigate this chapter of human history together, many of you are at the forefront of our current environment,” he said.

Throughout the virtual event, attendees learned about how to adapt to new realities. These are the main takeaways that businesses should consider.

1. Priorities for Businesses to Succeed in the Future of Work

With so many elements changing, it can be difficult for organizations to know where to start. In his keynote speech, Gelsinger laid out the top priorities businesses should focus on.

“In 2020, we’ve proved to ourselves that empathy plus urgency is a powerful combination,” he said. “Our mantra is simple: Care deeply and act decisively.”

For VMware, Gelsinger said that meant focusing on five things: app modernization, multicloud environments, digital workspace, virtual cloud networking and intrinsic security. And employees need to be at the heart of it all. 

“It’s all about increasing employee engagement,” Gelsinger said. “At a time when remote is the new office, employee engagement is everything.”

MORE FROM BIZTECH: Read more about Gelsinger’s keynote address.

2. The Keys to a Future-Ready Workforce

When it comes to preparing operations for the future of work, there are three key areas of focus, according to VMware’s CTO for end-user computing, Shawn Bass: employee engagement, IT modernization and zero-trust security principles.

“We believe that employee engagement is correlated with business success,” Bass said. “And now, with the distributed workforce, technology plays an even bigger role in growing engagement.” 

The nature of remote work also calls for a modernized IT infrastructure, Bass said. 

“With customers supporting so many different devices in large numbers and with complex requirements, we know that unified endpoint management is just the start,” he added.

That large number of devices makes security more important than ever.

“Today, with a distributed workforce and a disappearing perimeter, organizations must make implementing a zero-trust approach their highest priority,” Bass said.

3. Partnerships Can Ease the Burden in Times of Crisis

With so many procedures changing, IT departments have a lot to keep straight on their own. That’s where partnering up with an outside resource can be invaluable. 

Todd King, a VMware software-defined data center architect at CDW, said his company was able to help its customers immensely during the initial transition to remote work.

“In the beginning with COVID, we were dealing more with just enabling workers to work from home and enabling those IT staffs to be able to support all that,” King said. “Now, as we start to settle into this work-from-home idea, we’re actually starting to help customers understand security for working from home, understand data center infrastructure, and expanding on demand to address all these dynamic workforces and the needs of the business.”

Tom Cahill, vice president for product and partner management at CDW, said those partnerships can also help bolster operations in the future of work.

“Whether it’s stabilizing the business, whether it’s ensuring that the utility of IT is up and running, we build resilience,” Cahill said. “We future-proof and help their infrastructure so it’s durable and is there for the long haul, especially as we think about this new normal.”

MORE FROM BIZTECH: Learn how to build resilience with a secured remote workforce.

4. Remote Work Must Be Secured for Business Continuity

Once businesses moved out of the remote work transition phase, their attention fully turned to security. Harsha Nagaraju, senior product marketing manager at VMware, said it all boils down to three buckets of protection: prevention, visibility, and detection and response.

“This tight integration, we believe, is completely going to change the game in the way you manage and secure your endpoints,” he said.

Now that so many endpoints are connecting to the network, controlling access is key.

“The enterprises need to put solutions in place to ensure that the person is legit, that the username and password that you’re seeing is accurate,” Nagaraju said. “You need to have technologies around multifactor authentication. You need to look into their behavior anomalies and then allow or restrict access.”

Long-term remote work has presented its fair share of challenges to businesses. But with the right priorities, partnerships and security measures, organizations can build resilience in the future of work.

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