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

Follow us on Facebook or Twitter and never miss an update.  Prefer a weekly recap? Join our Community (on the right) and be notified when our Industry Wrap is published each week.

Looking for more great resources? Visit our Learning Academy.


strategic IT insights from the week

Strategic Insights: Enable IT Efficiency Through Innovation

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 IT ROI+Security, and how to enable IT efficiency through innovation.

As the boardroom weathers the economic impact of the pandemic, execs are expecting IT to deliver more value at a lower cost than ever before.

In order for IT to deliver value today, they must first identify and manage their ‘work from anywhere’ policies, and assess their strategy against cybersecurity best practices.  “Nearly half of decision makers say they’re concerned about upholding cybersecurity, and 37% cite challenges in deploying new or existing technologies at scale.”  Financial pressure is shifting organizational priorities, and it is incumbent upon IT to define that priority list.

SOURCE: CIO DIVE

In a timely report from KPMG, Enterprise Reboot says, “More than half of executives rate cloud migration as an absolute necessity”.  The report is worth a deeper dive.

In the next 12 months, executives project a spending increase across nearly all technology areas, with 80% of companies currently investing in emerging technologies.  More than half of executives rate cloud migration as an absolute necessity.  Automation is a hot topic, especially as machine learning, and human-machine co-dependencies increase.

Access to the full KPMG report can be found here.

SOURCE: CIO DIVE 

IT ROI + Security

Sometimes ‘bigger’ means a bigger target as Level 3 attack impacts big name websites.  Next Dimension Data Center clients’ bespoke solutions remained unaffected.

A widespread CenturyLink outage on Aug 31 triggered massive disruption for dozens of websites and services, a list that reportedly included Discord, Hulu, Feedly and Xbox Live.  The CenturyLink outage was identified as the cause of service disruption Sunday at Cloudflare, a web infrastructure and website security provider that keeps websites up and running.

“This was not a Cloudflare-specific outage.  Level 3/CenturyLink was responsible for an outage that affected many internet services, including Cloudflare,” San Francisco-based Cloudflare said in a statement.

The company said that while its automated systems first detected the extensive networking problem, manual intervention from CenturyLink was required because the outage affected all data centers that use CenturyLink for connectivity.

SOURCE: CRN 

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strategic IT insights from the week

Strategic Insights: IT Strategy Enables Business Strategy

August 31, 2020

IT Strategy Enables 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 how IT strategy enables business strategy as well as IT ROI + Security, and filling the gap between the server room and the boardroom.

Technology spend will remain conservative through 2020.  To justify spend, IT has to tie technology investments to desired business outcomes.  

The pandemic put the brakes on technology spend as companies navigated through short, medium and long-term business projections.  Organizations deferred where possible and closely scrutinized spending.  To justify spend, IT has to tie technology investments to desired business outcomes, and stretch every dollar possible.  Here are three ways to maximize value on your next IT spend:

    1. Understand what’s in the application stack

A large number of applications have legacy roots. As companies assess their portfolio, previously hesitant organizations are more open to application cuts and the prioritization of decommissioning.

    1. Negotiate with vendors

Companies purchasing technology have more leverage in today’s climate. The potential for negotiations applies across the technology stack.

    1. Not in use? Turn it off

It’s no different than turning the lights off when leaving a room.  Company policies should define usage and automatically turn instances off.

SOURCE: CIO Dive

IT ROI + Security

Scammers are ruthless, especially in the midst of a pandemic.  Here are a few tips to avoid falling victim when tensions and emotions are running high.

Cyber criminals thrive when there is panic among their targets.  With so many employees working in new environments, using connection and devices not typical of their pre-covid work life, it’s easier for scammers to take advantage.  Here are a few tips to avoid falling victim:

  • Stay calm.  Scammers use time pressure to encourage people to make decisions under stress
  • Check the sender.  If you receive a message that instructs you to click a link or provide information, always check the sender’s details first.
  • Install antivirus & cybersecurity protection.  The battle against malware, phishing and all other types of online and offline threats, starts with deploying a multi-layered protection strategy.

SOURCE: ESET

66% of Global phishing attacks are against Canada, compared to just 7% in the United States.  Canadian organizations must remain on guard.

Phishing remains the go-to weapon of choice for cyber criminals, accounting for nearly 55% of all cyber attacks observed by this Dell Technologies subsidiary.  The internet is a conduit for criminals to reach organizations and consumers due to the isolation millions of people have been exposed to and the added reliance on remote connections.

SOURCE: IT WORLD

Filling the Gap Between the Boardroom and Server room

76% of IT leaders reported employee downtime while adapting IT systems and processes to new business models.  An IT Roadmap will mitigate this challenge.

When stores and restaurants shuttered, suddenly businesses needed to think about how to effectively reach customers virtually.  At the corporate level, businesses were in a mad scramble to ensure employees remain safe and productive at home.  Here are some strategies to consider when turning short-term IT fixes into long-term sustainability:

    1. Scale costs to strategies
    2. Automate where possible
    3. Prepare for permanent remote work
    4. Get smart on going back to work

SOURCE: IT WORLD

Follow us on Facebook or Twitter and never miss an update.  Prefer a weekly recap? Join our Community (on the right) and be notified when our Industry Wrap is published each week.

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