The pandemic has presented many IT challenges and risks for CIO’s, particularly around cyber security, collaboration and productivity. Fast forward to today, restrictions have eased, and some workforces are heading back to the office. With postponed projects and budgets released, now is the perfect time to start addressing the following top challenges and IT risks.
Challenge 1: Managing and securing hybrid/remote workforces
Security, collaboration and productivity…understandably a CIO’s top priorities!! Many business were forced to make swift changes and facilitate remote working environments for their workforce practically overnight. And whilst ‘quick fix’ solutions were implemented to enable workers to continue their work, it was like slapping a plaster on a growing wound.
Many businesses were also lacking a simple VPN for employees to remotely connect to the network before the pandemic. After all, no one anticipated remote working would need to come into play. Post pandemic, there are a number of business still running on VPN’s which isn’t feasible for long term, secure working.
The main problem with having a VPN is that employees simply don’t have the means to collaborate on files in real-time, causing a loss in productivity. As a result, many employees will be sending documents back and forth, which evidently isn’t secure, nor productive. With many also requiring face to face interaction in order to work together, working remotely means they need the correct tools to be able to work together.
How businesses can securely overcome collaboration challenges
Multiple businesses have and are continuing to shift to a Microsoft 365/SharePoint/OneDrive environment. Why? Because it solves the pain points of every remote and hybrid employee globally.
Collaboration & productivity
Hybrid or permanent remote working means collaboration and productivity may be compromised. Microsoft 365 enables real-time collaboration on documents, allowing employees to effectively work together via SharePoint, and steer away from the constant sharing of files back and forth.
It’s no secret that video conferencing blew up when the pandemic first begun, in fact Microsoft Teams currently has over 250m active users. After all, it is the gateway to connect with each other. Teams enables workforces to stay in touch throughout the day, whether that’s through chat or video calling. It further enforces collaboration by allowing employees to easily locate, share and edit files in real-time with familiar apps like Word, PowerPoint and Excel.
If you’re looking for advanced security, then switching to 365 is going to give you access to that. You wont have to worry about your files, SharePoint comes equipped with security permissions, so you can select who gets access to what and keep unauthorised users out! Here’s some of the top security features:
- Multi-factor authentication
- Mobile device management
- Advanced threat protection
- Data loss prevention
- Azure identity protection
- Identity management
Challenge 2: Phishing and ransomware growth
The pandemic resulted in a large spike in cyber attacks, particularly phishing and ransomware. In fact, 42% of breaches in the last year have been phishing attacks. But currently, the situation is no different and business are and will still be targets. So why are businesses being successfully breached?
Lack of cyber security awareness training
Most businesses are aware that 90% of breaches is down to human error, but they still haven’t invested in cyber security awareness training. Many small businesses even assume that they’re not a target, when in reality small businesses are the most lucrative targets for attackers, resulting in an easy payday!
Recent figures even show that phishing emails have increased, seeing a spike in May 2021 by 440% increase. That’s an alarming figure, and it only goes to show that employees simply aren’t equipped with the right cyber knowledge to prevent such attacks. Leaders should be taking charge of the growing issue and implement regular, ongoing, cyber security awareness training. Only then will employees learn and actively work to change their habits.
Challenge 3: Staying current with the changing landscape
Technologies are critical to a business to be successful and stay competitive, and recent events have been a testament to that. New technologies are constantly hitting the market, and yes, it’s true that businesses simply don’t need to rush into buying new tech for no valid reason, it is important for leaders to recognise which of these technologies can adequately work tackle the issues that exist.
Making these decisions can get overwhelming, and it's often confusing to decide what needs upgrading and if you even need new technology to enhance your security posture and your overall infrastructure. Making technology decisions is a pretty big deal, you don’t want to end up with technology that doesn’t align with your current infrastructure.
We recommend speaking to experienced cyber security experts for an strategic IT review for a comprehensive technology roadmap. This type of assessment is usually available through Managed Services Provider’s. Taking this step is strategic and will equip your business with a plan that outline and prioritises issues. Based on this, you’ll walk away with advice, recommendations, potential projects and an accurate roadmap for your business.
And if you decide to onboard an MSP full-time then you won’t need to worry about keeping up. With their wealth of experience on multiple projects and knowledge of the landscape and technologies, your partner can manage your infrastructure and cyber security for you and see to it that you’re constantly up to date.
If you’re looking for advice and recommendations on how to navigate through these challenges, contact our experts today.