3 minute read 18 Jun 2020
Businesswoman sitting in office with laptop

COVID-19: How CIOs can keep the lights on in the pandemic and beyond

By

Kris Lovejoy

EY Global Consulting Cybersecurity Leader

Cybersecurity guru. Married mother of four. Enjoys diving, hiking and refinishing furniture. Lives in McLean, VA.

3 minute read 18 Jun 2020

Technology infrastructure is now more important than ever to enable business continuity and create a strong foundation for future resiliency.

In brief
  • Rethink infrastructure to enable new communication platforms that support the return to work
  • Accelerate the journey towards next-generation cloud, intelligent platforms and automation
  • Tighten cybersecurity across the organization’s remote workforce and support the security of suppliers, contractors and customers

The COVID-19 pandemic necessitated a fully remote workforce almost overnight. Supporting communication and collaboration for employees is an essential step in ensuring resilience, but it has tested legacy infrastructure and security configurations.  And for Chief Information Officers (CIO) this translates into greater challenges than ever.

The situation and expectations for CIOs

CIOs must now keep their organization’s workforce connected, collaborating and productive, with the right tools, which are resilient, secure and scalable. But maximizing performance and security while optimizing cost efficiencies seem impossible at this new scale. However, it’s essential to keep employees motivated and build trust across all stakeholders.

At the same time there are familiar but massively increased expectations around security and resilience, now that organizations have effectively opened their perimeter to allow the entire workforce to work from home.

Seven actions for CIOs

1. Get on top of budgets and buying relationships

Every cent of spend counts now, so rapidly shut down any in-flight projects that can be deferred. Revise and renew contractual relationships with technology providers so they are ready to deliver on a greater scale, fast. Mature the relationship between network and security operation teams for collaboration on common tooling platforms and budgeting.

2. Rethink infrastructure

There is a new kind of workforce to support as we return to work. It needs a flexible communications platform and other new infrastructure that supports collaboration, remote working, and higher levels of automation in operations.

3. Increase cybersecurity

Threats are escalating, so organizations need to get up to date with patches and ensure the security of data, and the mobile and virtual infrastructure. CIOs should also help support the security of suppliers, contractors and customers.

4. Accelerate cloud adoption

Drive an ecosystem approach to business operations that will create a collaborative network connecting suppliers, customers, shippers and employees. This will enable faster response times, reduce risk and increase resiliency to ramp up and scale down with an uneven “see-saw” recovery.

Drive an ecosystem approach to business operations that will create a collaborative network connecting suppliers, customers, shippers and employees.

5. Utilize automation and intelligent platforms

Automate tactical tasks to enable a focus on the strategic and be able to scale in volatile market conditions.

6. Implement artificial Intelligence methods for IT operations

Deploy AIOps combined with machine learning and big data to improve situational awareness and response, discover intent-based patterns and gain insight of applications and business relationships across hybrid infrastructure.

7. Revisit the organization’s digital strategy

With new cloud infrastructure in place and increased digitalization in operations, now is the time to assess new technologies. 

Summary

CIOs are under pressure to keep their organization’s workforce connected, collaborating and productive, with the right tools, which are resilient, secure and scalable.

At the same time, there are familiar but massively increased expectations around security and resilience, now that organizations have effectively opened their perimeter to allow the entire workforce to work from home. The article suggests some recommended actions to help CIOs.

About this article

By

Kris Lovejoy

EY Global Consulting Cybersecurity Leader

Cybersecurity guru. Married mother of four. Enjoys diving, hiking and refinishing furniture. Lives in McLean, VA.