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The CTO’s Guide To Navigating The New Normal

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The CTO’s Guide To Navigating The New Normal

These leaders already have altered their approaches to enable collaboration and connection. CTOs also now have a new incentive to evaluate the efficacy of existing and new technologies and leverage them to drive the transformation of their organizations.

Considering The Human Element

The change we’re experiencing requires a new level of reflection and empathy. It means we need a different kind of leadership and engagement with our teams. Leaders need to understand that it’s OK to be empathetic by sharing concerns and being candid. We don’t have to pretend we have all the answers amid this massive change.

But it is important for leaders to communicate and illustrate that they’re figuring this out. Leaders should express and demonstrate that they are committed to making this new normal work.

Bringing IT Home

CTOs and other leaders should consider all aspects of what it takes to enable effective teams when everybody is distributed at home. At my company, when we were adjusting to the new remote work requirement, we realized not everybody had a laptop. So, we had to relax our policies and let some people take home monitors or desktops.

As this example highlights, CTOs need to consider things both from the human and technology perspectives. That includes thinking through what people need in order to work individually and to collaborate with others. In addition to computing devices and collaboration tools, one may need to consider wireless access cards for developers in locations where broadband may be a challenge.

Enabling Camaraderie And Collaboration

CTOs and other leaders also must enable business as usual and productivity among teams. Many organizations are using tools such as Microsoft Teams and Zoom for that purpose.

Video has become very important in engendering camaraderie when we’re not in the same place. Virtual daily stand-ups, lunches and happy hours create structured and unstructured mileposts. They establish a cadence for team alignment and let people get to know each other better, which can not only reduce stress, but build a stronger culture.

Addressing The VPN Problem

However, the increased use of such solutions is creating new challenges. You’ve probably heard about "Zoombombing," in which disruptive and inappropriate parties are joining video calls uninvited. Virtual private networks (VPNs) are not holding up because they were not designed for this.

The VPN concentrator has become a top target of cyberattackers. This risk has only grown more pronounced as more people are working from home. That prompted the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to issue an enterprise VPN security alert. The alert notes that VPNs are a growing target of malicious cyber actors.

Hackers like VPNs because once they’re in, they can go to any part of the enterprise. VPNs allow for this broad access because they were designed to provide select people with access to environments such as Unix. They were never meant to support the entire company in accessing applications. Why should you be provided access to Fort Knox if all you need to do is withdraw $20?

In addition to opening the enterprise to widespread risk, VPNs lack ease of use. They often take 20 to 30 seconds for dial-in, which wastes time. Also, VPNs often slow down internet speed.

Allowing For Scalability And Security

What CTOs need now is intuitive technology that is scalable, secure and works for everyone. “Always-on” solutions, which give access to only the application port needed instead of the entire environment, provide remote workers with what they need in a secure manner. This gives enterprises increased security and resilience, halting even sophisticated cyberattacks by establishing a software-defined perimeter that supports zero-trust strategies.

This approach is very secure because it employs end-to-end encryption and provides access only to the applications remote users need. That significantly narrows the attack surface. It can always be done remotely, so enterprises don’t need to have anybody go to the office. It is scalable and works across the whole enterprise because it is enabled via the cloud.

Accelerating Cloud Adoption

Signs now suggest that the new normal may be a longer-term event and exist for several quarters, and many things such as remote work will be embraced much more than before. CTOs should consider how that influences their cloud and data center strategies.

Given that most of us are now working remotely, there may be additional motivation to accelerate a move to the cloud and a cloud-first strategy. A cloud approach can enable enterprises to scale up and down quickly in a secure, remote and compliant manner.

From a security perspective, enterprises should consider using cloud navigators to get visibility into cloud workloads to allow for peak cost optimization, performance, reliability and security. That will enable CTOs to get the most out of enterprise cloud investments and put digital guardrails in place, including the ability to do microsegmentation to reduce attacks.

There has been a massive shift in the workforce recently as people around the world work from home. That can pose challenges to global operations and create unintended security risks.

Now more than ever, employees need secure remote access to vital resources, data and applications, as well as new ways to collaborate with each other, to get the job done. CTOs can lead the focus on new technology to provide end-to-end secure access, scalability and speed to meet employee needs and consider the human element to enable their organizations to transform for the new normal.


article by V. Gupta - Forbes

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