In an interview with CIO AXIS, Roman Rafiq, Vice President – Global IT Infra & Security, IGT Solutions, discusses IGT Solutions’ digital transformation and what to focus on in 2021.
What are your proposals to accelerate the digital transformation of companies and return to a new post-pandemic normal?
Digital transformation isn’t new; it’s simply been brought into sharp focus. Prior to the pandemic, a paradigm shift towards digitization and servitization of the economy was already underway.
The rapid migration to digital technologies driven by the pandemic will continue into the recovery. We are already witnessing what will surely be remembered as a historic deployment of remote work and digital access to services across every domain.
The pandemic has created an environment of sink or swim, and we have to accelerate digital transformation strategies to enable them to continue to connect to customers. From the increased shift on remote services, the need for fast and secure digital access has never been greater.
To accelerate the digital transformation we have to “Prioritize cross-functional collaboration and strategic partnerships”.
Digital transformation projects post-pandemic will focus on improving the remote work experience. This will include moves as simple as moving away from traditional PBX phone systems in favor of Unified Communications as a Service (UCaaS), or as complex as migrating from legacy to cloud solutions
Can you please share some of the unique lessons learned from Covid-19?
COVID-19 has been the largest experiment of testing the need for a flexible, remote-ready workforce. Post-crisis, many workers will continue to embrace remote work, rather than long commutes.
We realize that this pandemic will serve as a catalyst for more remote opportunities, and we believe the world could be forever impacted in a way that remote technologies will be critical for any part of a business.
The most unique lesson we learned from COVID 19 is “Adapt fast” & “Communication in the key”. While we have hit pause on most of our business-as-usual activities, we quickly adapted to the new reality in all aspects; as a brand, employer and service provider. We immediately activated WFH policy for all employees & enable technology for our global clients. While we became productive after this but welcome with another trouble spot. Communication with all the employees promptly. Emails may not be efficient way of communication among this.A big part of whether an organization succeeds or fails in dealing with the pandemic is how well they communicate with their internal and external stakeholders.
The COVID 19 provided a big lesson in agility approach we follow, we being agile to adapt and respond quickly to changing events. This situation made us realize how important it is to be comfortable with change and willing to shift gears when necessary. The shift unveiled the gaps and weaknesses in our businesses, by helping us to pinpoint to errors and improve them for the future.
What technologies and trends will your organization be focusing in 2021?
We will look at increasing security-related technologies as data will no longer be confined to corporate offices. This may include improving VPN capability and speed, ensuring data is encrypted in-flight and at-rest, and that systems accessing the environments are also encrypted. Traditional network monitoring will evolve into more endpoint monitoring, regardless of device or location, to ensure protection and have better control over off-premise devices that access corporate environments.
Cloud technology is already helping by add a layer of resilience to many organisations by making the sudden shift in working habits less disruptive. This has sealed cloud’s place as an essential piece of enterprise tech especially after COVID.
Cloud will also grow in popularity as the ideal execution venue for new and emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML), blockchain, and edge computing. Thus, making it integral to the digital transformation journey many more businesses are now on.
We are in phase of developing a new business-technology operating model that exploits cloud for speed, agility, and efficient scalability.
How will the cybersecurity sector look in a post-COVID-19 world? What do you expect to be different when it comes to cybersecurity and hiring in a post-COVID-19 world?
In the post COVID-19 era, only support staff personnel or those who need direct system/hardware access e.g.: direct console, specific printing machines in BPO environment, etc., are working from office. The rest of the workforce is operating from home, and connected to more vulnerable networks when compared to the ones at the office.
Along with all of its benefits, remote work also brings a host of cyber security risks that are harder to tackle outside of the office. When thousands of people are forced to work remotely, volumes of private data may become totally vulnerable or at least not protected in a proper way
In the post-COVID-19 world, cyber attackers are increasingly seeking to exploit vulnerabilities in an organisation’s security infrastructure that is being shifted to remote working has been exposed. It is time for cybersecurity leaders to re-visit their security measures and focus on deploying new processes and technologies to fortify their digital architecture going forward.
All these will uplift the cybersecurity sector with the technology enablement and strategies that businesses should adopt in the post-Covid-19 world to improve the security of their remote users and devices along with the data associated with them.
While we are and we will be investing more in security automation so that networks can be run with the least amount of human intervention and human errors. But that doesn’t mean that we will no longer need human resources, far from it. To be successful, companies need to rely on people that can oversee their automation programs, analyse data, and develop insights. This may mean retraining security professionals whose jobs are side-lined by automation so they can help run and manage new programs.