Investing in Resilient Technologies

by Darlene Fawcett

Many companies are reaching the one-year mark of shifting their workforce to seamlessly work from home, which has dramatically accelerated the fourth industrial revolution through the adoption of cloud computing, artificial intelligence, and video conferencing technologies to become an integral component in the post-pandemic environment. As companies continue to manage the impact of COVID-19 while concurrently developing their future work playbook, many are capitalizing on this change driver to transform their business by procuring resilient technologies. As businesses and countries are increasingly facing more complex issues and challenges, disruptive events are becoming more frequent, severe, and impactful.

While 2020 will long be associated with the COVID-19 pandemic, it was also a year of increased security issues that included protests and riots relating to Black Lives Matter, government lockdowns, and massive increases in cyber-attacks and cybercrime activities occurring in the midst of the ongoing pandemic. With many employees working from home, hackers, malicious actors, and nation-state bad actors have capitalized by increasing their cyberattacks in order to exploit vulnerabilities found within software endpoints to either conduct disruptive activities, whether financially motivated such as ransomware; theft of propriety information to sell on the black market or exploit data. Gone are the days when companies were responding to one crisis at a time. The increased challenges of ransomware and data breaches are increasing exponentially as the pandemic continues longer and the bad actors are becoming increasingly savvy. Data has shown that when companies handle crises poorly their share price dive more precipitously than others who handle crisis effectively.

Over the course of this past year, resilience has become the latest buzzword as it has been catapulted into the limelight with increased discussion on business resilience, personal resilience, mental health resilience, and climate resilience; however, an area that isn’t emphasized as much is technology resilience.

At its core, technology resilience enables companies that have well-designed processes and systems to maintain continuity of operations through well-defined operational business continuity and disaster recovery plans to identify potential single points of failure; understand dependencies and security controls.

Many forward-looking companies are accelerating their technology strategy by implementing technology they would not have without this pandemic to transform, innovate and grow. Although many have adopted new technologies, not all companies have advanced their technology to meet today, and future threats have become apparent as many brick-and-mortar stores are closing as people shift online.

As companies have increased their dependency on technology for communication, data, analytics, and automation as a result of the pandemic, it is critical to ensure business resilience and resilient technologies are in place. Prior to looking at technology capabilities, organizations should first consider:

  1. What is the business strategy?
  2. How does the current technology align with the strategy?
  3. What are the gaps?
  4. Is the technology request process agile?

After considering all the above while positioning the company to succeed post-COVID-19 in the midst of increasing uncertainty and volatility, companies looking to invest in resilient technologies for sustained competitive advantage should consider the following capabilities:

  • Enable – Does the technology enable their people to do the best job with the best available tools to empower them to work and collaborate effectively in any circumstance? Additionally, the system should also allow business redundancy and automation through technology to allow employees to shift their time availability to add more value.
  • Reliable – The increased reliance on system uptime availability and reliable access to ensure people can remain productive by transitioning and working seamlessly without system disruption. Think of when Microsoft Teams is not functioning properly when you are trying to conduct a virtual presentation.
  • Connection – Many systems are highly interconnected together and, therefore, must be able to operate seamlessly for the end-user.
  • Agile – The ability for the technology to adapt and adjust to changing priorities and processes will boost the company’s ability to remain flexible and pivot easily while remaining scalable and resilient. An agile approach to funding should also be considered compared to the traditional mechanism of business case through to procurement which may take from several months to a year or more end-to-end.
  • Secure – Lastly but most importantly, today’s environment calls for data protection as an imperative to ensuring vulnerabilities in remote-work applications are closed and adherence to legal and regulatory data protection.

With the continuous movement within the economy and our company, will we will be adaptable to adjust accordingly to meet the current conditions and future growth to maintain a competitive advantage.