strategic IT insights from the week

Strategic Insights: Digital Transformation

October 19, 2020

Strategic Insights: Digital Transformation

Next Dimension curates the most practical and useful tools and strategic IT insights from the web.  This week we shared articles across our social media talking about Digital Transformation.

Businesses of all sizes have been forced to reassess their digital transformation plans.

Many organizations have weathered the initial storm that is COVID-19.  They have found a way to mobilize, shift their business offering, and reprioritize their budgets to empower their workforce.  However, a fast deployment doesn’t always mean a secure or carefully crafted execution.  Here are three areas to watch out for that may cause security and compliance challenges:

1. Excessive Access Privileges

2. Misconfigurations

3. Manual Processes

Tips to review and plan ahead can be found in their article.

SOURCE: INFO SECURITY MAGAZINE

With each new level of automation, communication and connectivity challenges increase. A managed infrastructure mitigates these concerns in Ops. 

There are five distinct levels of automation inside of manufacturing.  With each level there is an increased demand and reliance on secure connectivity that is always-on.  Moreover, automation empowers real time data and analytics, which requires a robust connection to handle the flow of information.  Cisco defines these as the five levels of Manufacturing Automation:

Operation Assistance

Partial Automation

End to End Automation

Remote Automation

Autonomous Automation

What level is your organization?  What level do you aspire to?  How will you get there?  We have IT Roadmap framework that will help build the plan.

SOURCE: CISCO

With a renewed focus to empower work, the workforce, and the workplace, organizations face IT complexity, security risk, and efficiency challenges. 

Deloitte shed light on the future of cloud-enabled work infrastructure based on acceleration rates of cloud adoption as a response to COVID-19.  The pandemic has created a footprint for cloud strategy planning moving forward.  There is an increased sense of urgency for migration, security, and Ops planning.

However, as organizations respond and recover, the focus needs to shift once again to manage IT complexity, security risk, and operational efficiency.  How do you adopt this same strategy?  Deloitte recommends you consider these three pillars in developing your approach:

Define the business challenge

Define technology and operational barriers

Develop your technology solution approach

Prioritize based on immediate value.  The time to reap the rewards is now.

SOURCE: DELOITTE

Organizational issues created by Covid-19 suggest more businesses should closely examine their tech strategy. 

Are you in the race to replace legacy systems for greater agility?  Amazon’s Jeff Bezos famously said: “There is no alternative to digital transformation.  Visionary companies will carve out new strategic options for themselves – those that don’t adapt will fail.”  Technology can no longer be seen as the remedy for panic situations.  Investments should be made where tech and infrastructure can have an immediate impact on efficiency and resilience.

Who is leading the change in your organization?  Digital leadership is shaping up from various seats in the boardroom; CFOs, COOs and even CEOs are leading the change.  They are leaning on CIOs, CDOs, CTOs, and IT Directors to facilitate these changes with the right technology partner.

SOURCE: IT PORTAL

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strategic IT insights from the week

Strategic Insights: Digital Leadership

October 15, 2020

Strategic Insights: Digital Leadership

Next Dimension curates the most practical and useful tools and strategic IT insights from the web.  This week we shared articles across our social media talking about Digital Leadership.

The Pandemic Effect: which crisis response scenario best describes your organization?

ZDNet succinctly describes four crisis-response scenarios that organizations fell under when dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic.  They report that the London School of Economics believes organizations, either knowingly or unknowingly, fall under one of the following categories:

Sweat the Assets

Underpin Today’s Business

Slow the Strategy

Adapt Strategy and Build Resilience

What does this have to do with IT infrastructure?  Well, those classified as “winners” noted Digital Transformation as a key contributing factor.

SOURCE: ZDNET

WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW: Forbes says Culture Eats Strategy for Breakfast. 

According to Forbes, an Orchestrator is highly recommended for the successful rollout of digital transformation efforts.  The orchestrator can be an outside organization, specifically contracted for deployment.  The orchestrator keeps a watchful eye on the culture, and assist in assessing the integration of new and legacy technologies.

SOURCE: FORBES

With the volatile demand cycles of 2020, how prepared are you for IT/OT convergence?

The demand for IT/OT convergence will continue to grow.  As does the need for control, legacy performance, and security.  The Manufacturer asks key questions to determine your organization’s readiness for optimal convergence.

SOURCE: THE MANUFACTURER

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strategic IT insights from the week

Strategic Insights: IT Strategy to Enable Business Strategy

October 5, 2020

Strategic Insights: IT Strategy to Enable Business Strategy

Next Dimension curates the most practical and useful tools and strategic IT insights from the web.  This week we shared articles across our social media talking about enablement; IT strategy to enable business strategy, and enabling efficiency through innovation.

Managing the distance economy, and five other trends on the hype cycle for a digital workplace.

Looking ahead to 2021, there is a growing need to scale up digital workplace technology.  Replacement for in-person activities is leading to heightened interest in emerging technology trends in the Gartner Hype Cycle:

    1. The new work nucleus
    2. Bring your thing
    3. The distance economy
    4. Smart workspaces
    5. Desktop as a service
    6. Democratized technology services

Visit Gartner for additional analysis on digital workplace technologies.

SOURCE: IT WORLD

Enable Efficiency Through Innovation 

The internet faced the perfect storm; legacy tech failure and a sophisticated cyber attack.

3.5% of internet traffic went down.  This outage highlighted two areas of concern: cyberattacks during the time of a pandemic and the internet’s longstanding fragility.  When a service provider goes down, you are often left waiting for the issue to be resolved.  The interconnection of the internet, together with BGP is upheld by trust between ISPs and entities.  Attacks on BGP or DNS are different, even though they achieve a similar result.

The proactive approach may be to deploy a multi-provider strategy.  This way, when an outage occurs, you can move to a stable connection with minimal business disruption.

SOURCE: CIO DIVE

Automation is giving companies leverage to scale in today’s markets. Here are 3 of the telltale signs it’s time:

With so many changes already happening, many are wondering if they are ready for the next steps.  Here are 3 telltale signs that you could benefit from bringing automation into your business:

1. You feel like you’re constantly doing busywork

2. Its been a while since you’ve done creative and effective collaborative work

3. You’re ready to scale

If you’re wondering if you’re ready to deploy an automation strategy, but are hesitant to lose “control” or lose the ability to keep tasks “in house”, consider these signs and reach out to your technology partner to inquire about taking the next step.

SOURCE: ENTREPRENEUR

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strategic IT insights from the week

Strategic Insights: Enable Efficiency Through Innovation

September 22, 2020

Enable IT Efficiency Through Innovation

Next Dimension curates the most practical and useful tools and strategic IT insights from the web.  This week we shared articles across our social media covering topics like enabling IT efficiency through innovation, IT reliability and security, and IT strategy to enable business strategy.

Virtual desktop infrastructure may be the long-term solution that suits your organization.  

The truth is, secure remote work was a hot topic of conversation well before the events of 2020.  Businesses were already looking for ways to provide more flexibility to their workforce by empowering their employees to work anytime, from anywhere, from their preferred device.  One critical factor that remains a top priority for IT departments is securing their remote workforce.

Many security breaches stem from either successful phishing, threat vectors gaining access to a user’s endpoint, or an unsecured connection.  Fortunately, Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) can reduce these risks by:

  • Eliminating the risk of data loss or theft by hosting documents, applications and other assets in a secure datacenter requiring multi-factor authentication to access rather than locally on a user’s device.
  • Delivering real-time insights for IT administrators to monitor datacenter access and usage from any device in any location.
  • Allow IT to grant or revoke infrastructure access to groups or individuals with ease.
  • Restrict the ability for users to copy and transfer data from their virtual machines to unsecured external devices.

SOURCE: CISCO

Companies can see 20-40% increase in labour productivity through a digital performance management strategy.

The Covid-19 pandemic quickly proved how unprepared the supply chain was for global business disruption.  However, we shouldn’t let the disruption overshadow the progress that was quietly being made within the supply chain in the form of IIoT (Industrial Internet of Things).  While the pandemic may have stalled or modified plans for IIoT integration, it’s imperative they don’t stop here.

IIoT provides intelligence to manufacturers and distributors.  This data will paint a picture of where and when to shift resources.

SOURCE: FORBES 

IT Reliability and Security

Maze Ransomware is effective at penetrating through remote desktop solutions with weak passwords and email impersonations to gain access to a user’s system.

The news that Canon experienced a Maze ransomware attack is similar to earlier attacks that targeted LG and Xerox.  The analyst notes there is an inherent weakness in most cybersecurity protocols, “Encryption does not work against ransomware because the attacker can simply re-encrypt the data to prevent access to its rightful owner.”

In order for organizations to protect their data, analysts recommend creating a security safeguard at the storage layer.  Digital Journal recommends WORM storage.  WORM stands for Write Once Read Many.  This means, once data is written, it cannot be modified or deleted for a specified length of time.

SOURCE: DIGITAL JOURNAL 

IT Strategy to Enable Business Strategy

28% of respondents cited lack of skilled professionals and appropriate budgets as their greatest challenge in zero trust adoption.  What is holding you back?

For many companies, the pandemic created a pathway towards accelerated digital transformation and zero trust.  Zero trust benefits are praised for protecting assets from any endpoint, but obstacles remain for companies trying to expedite this transition.

Two-thirds of respondents in a recent survey said workforce risk management, including remote work and insider threats, is the primary driver of zero trust adoption.  Without updated processes and new skills, zero trust efforts fall short.  Zero trust, like any other initiative with a hefty price tag, must show value and a true ROI.

SOURCE: CIO DIVE 

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strategic IT insights from the week

Strategic Insights: IT Security

IT Security

Next Dimension curates the most practical and useful tools and strategic IT insights from the web.  This week we shared articles across our social media covering topics like IT security and enabling IT efficiency through innovation.

145,000+ users affected by IT blunder at KPMG.  Microsoft confirms Teams chat data is not recoverable.

The personal chat histories of 145,000 Microsoft Teams users at KPMG were inadvertently and permanently deleted this month, due to an IT blunder.  “In the execution of a change, a human error was made and a policy was applied to the entire KPMG Teams deployment instead of the specific account,” said the internal memo.  “This error resulted in the deletion of chat history from end-users throughout KPMG.”

The IT group is also said to be working with Microsoft “to improve policy design and behaviour in Microsoft Teams” – and – “To automate service execution and remove human intervention in policy management”.

SOURCE: THE REGISTER

Enable Efficiency Through Innovation

Covid-19 has caused businesses to ask, “How do we leverage technology to make processes safer?  Can we maximize the utilization of resources in ways we never have before?”

Supply, demand, and availability are under stress in many industries.  One rural hospital harnessed Cisco technology to innovate quickly, support more patients, and protect its greatest assets—the healthcare workers on the front lines.  Learn more about their transformation by clicking on the case study below.

Cisco Case Study: Sky Lakes Medical Center

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