IT teams deserve serious kudos for standing up work-from-home environments at a moment’s notice to help slow the spread of COVID-19. They should be congratulated for their adaptability. While only 17% of IT decision makers in an Osterman Research study believed their organizations were “very well prepared” to deal with a crisis of this kind before it began, today nearly every worker who’s able is working remotely.
Now companies are planning for what’s next. There's been no roadmap for how to proceed in a world turned upside down. The foreseeable future still holds vast amounts of uncharted territory.
The economy has begun to re-open, but there continue to be so many questions and the answers are not simple. Companies with the ability to flex as guidelines change – and change again – will have the most resilience in the months to come. Business leaders are rightfully asking what kind of business model is most sustainable for their organizations.
No time to take a bow
For many companies, it was “easy” to transition to remote work. Technology and professional workers already had access to tools that allowed them to meet, communicate, and collaborate virtually.
In a Harris poll, 65% of those now working from home said they actually felt more productive at their jobs. Still, two-thirds of them would prefer to be going to the office. Many experts are predicting, however, that remote work isn’t going away any time soon. What was initially implemented out of urgent necessity is expected to become standard practice, especially as workers begin to think about returning to long commutes and germy offices. This is just one of the realities that will define IT priorities going forward.
On the one hand, companies have a reason to feel an urgency around stabilizing their environment and bolstering security. On the other hand, high levels of flexibility will be required to continue adapting as the economy and health directives remain fluid. Companies who’ve made the move to the cloud are finding their objectives easier to accomplish and scalability – up or down – is a much more viable option.
Secure the fences
With the fundamentals of work-from-home largely accomplished, it became important to tighten up the loose ends. In the interest of speed, the road to a fully remote environment blew right past security reviews. And IT leaders are rightly worried; 46% of those surveyed said they’re concerned that bad actors will try to take advantage of environments in a state of flux. In fact, the U.S. Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) has warned of “a growing use of COVID-19-related themes by malicious cyber actors.” Increased levels of cyber-attacks are already being documented.
Security concerns are heightened by the fact that many employees are using laptops and their personal computers to access systems and download files to ‘get their jobs done’. This leads to a very real likelihood that they’ll try to work around compliance protocols, potentially exposing vulnerabilities. Providing consistent and easy access to productivity tools in the cloud will help mitigate some of these issues. It’s more than timely that security measures for Office 365 are better than they’ve ever been.
The future demands flexibility
There’s never been a time when the old adage, “The only constant in life is change,” has been more apt. Just as companies have settled office workers into stay-at-home routines, they need to start planning for a safe and sustainable return to offices. As we’re already seeing, the return to work is happening in stages, by region, and most experts agree will continue in fits-and-starts. This has a number of implications.
Companies with offices distributed throughout the country and around the world won’t be able to make blanket policies for their workers. In some cases, workers have returned to work, only to have to go home again as local infection rates rise. And as testing and contact tracing becomes more prevalent, employees may be required to quarantine even if they don’t feel sick. It will simply take time for workers – and customers – to be comfortable again with on-premises work arrangements.
Even in an opened up economy, people will continue using the online tools they’ve adopted during the pandemic. Distance learning, telehealth, shopping, and virtual meetings are beginning to be permanently integrated into our daily lives to at least some extent. This will put pressure on IT infrastructure to continually flex and adapt.
Adaptability isn’t a nice-to-have. It’s going to be standard operating procedure for the foreseeable future. That’s why, despite major organizational disruptions, many companies are accelerating their moves to the cloud. MigrationWiz has turned out to be an indispensable tool for accomplishing migrations efficiently. And since it’s 100% SaaS, migrations can be managed by your remote IT department, scheduled to accommodate operational needs, and batched to migrate workloads based on priority.
In order to help accelerate your cloud migration, while at the same time making sure it’s done with a solid plan, we’ve assembled the resources you need in our Remote Workforce Enablement Kit. This is where you’ll find all the resources and training you need to jump-start your team’s knowledge and kick off your migration with confidence.
Harris Poll: https://zapier.com/blog/wfh-report/
Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) warning: https://www.us-cert.gov/ncas/alerts/aa20-099a