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Digital Transformation – The Dangers of Rapid Change in the time of Covid 19

The Perils of Rapid Digital Transformation

Digital transformation is the process of using digital technologies to create new business processes to meet changing business and market requirements. It is by its nature planned and intentional change. The Covid 19 lockdown has accelerated digital transformation and flipped it on its head. It has been forced upon many companies who have scrambled to get their workforce up and running from home and other remote locations.

Since lockdown our ISO Lead Auditor, Aaron Nolan, has evaluated the security impact of remote working on over 40 companies. He prepared over 120 best practice questions and examined he results under four main headings. What he discovered can be broadly summarised as follows:

Remote working – perhaps not as secure as you thought!

We found that the correct mechanisms are in place for secure remote working. However the we found several security gaps and data leakage concerns in over 50% of companies reviewed. These came about due to the pace of change and a need to get working as quickly as possible. In particular, we noted the use of Shadow IT and unauthorised remote access solutions in several companies. In the majority of cases this requires some small changes to both technology and security policies to close of these security gaps.

Microsoft 365 Security

Let’s be clear here. The Microsoft 365 Platform is secure but it requires work to make it so. Microsoft provide a wealth of tools through their Security and Compliance centre that can assist in tightening security. You just need to understand what options are available to you, define your policies and them deploy them. Our main findings were that there was:

  • A lack of Multifactor Authentication.
  • No use of auditing and security policy management capabilities in Microsoft 365.
  • Rapid adoption of Microsoft Teams with little or no attention to security and retention policies. Also, potential issues with data leakage of or PII confidential data.
  • A general lack of a plan with defined goals and edges i.e. reactionary rather than planned approach to cloud migration.

The mechanisms to secure Microsoft 365 exist withing the platform itself but they need to be turned and managed properly by professionals.

Business Continuity Planning

We found very good procedures in place for both backup and well tested disaster recovery procedures. The missing component though was a written Business Continuity Plan (BCP). For the sake of clarity, a BCP is an organisation wide document outlining an action plan and response to a serious business shock such as Covid 19. We found several companies with either no BCP or one that was years out of date. We even found some alluding to staff that no longer even worked in the company.  Thankfuly the Covid 19 lockdown has sparked interest in addressing this. VCIO magazine have a helpful article on how to establish and build a BCP.

Efficiency

For the majority of businesses that continued to operate through the Covid 19 lockdown, there has been a realisation that remote working actually works. Many staff have traded the daily commute for a more balanced work/life balance. The result has been a noted increase in employee well being and productivity. This has come as a welcome surprise to many who now view remote working as part of the future of their digital transformation strategies.

There is also a massive shift towards cloud-based platforms such as Microsoft 365. Largely driven by an effort to consolidate multiple IT functions under one hood. It is no longer just a case of having email in the cloud. It is about the efficiency of having all of your business data, communications and collaboration tools in one place. The light has been shone on the possibilties of remote working and it appears that companies are really seeing the benefits of how technology can transform the working lives of their staff.

If you are interested in seeing how technology can help transform the lives of your staff and make your organisation more agile we would love to hear from you.

Feel free to reach out to us either by phone on 353 16644190 or get in touch here. We can arrange a discovery call and perhaps even a short demonstration.

Thinking of a New IT Support Provider

  1. If you’re looking for an IT support provider get in touch here, or give us a call on 01 6644190 to talk with one of our experts.
  2. Looking to plan your Microsoft Teams deployment.  Feel free to read our post here on the subject.
  3. Review our Remote Working solutions to ensure optimal protection for your businesses during the Covid-19 lockdown.

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