The initial business momentum of 2020 is clearly in our rear view mirror and the economic forecasts driven by the COVID-19 Pandemic have been devastating to business both large and small. With post-apocalyptic work environments taking shape across the globe, it’s imperative that corporate executives and other business leaders consider a more humane approach to their businesses, as they begin to scrutinize and re-calibrate budgets, dwindling balance-sheets, as well as outstanding ROI’s, if the IT industry and all its feeders and tributaries have a chance of getting past the immediate effects of the Pandemic.
A New IT Normal
Along with the side effects of fear and future uncertainties, there are other hidden costs to human capital and the overall physical, psychological and, in some cases, spiritual effects that being confined at home has had on the work force. Whether you are in the board room or pushing a broom, the effects that COVID-19 has had on the workforce are undeniable. Cultural changes, whether good or bad, will be a barometer to gauge recovery in the upcoming months and businesses best pay attention to their employees and their needs.
Two months into the quarantine, businesses have now settled into their ‘new normal’, whether they like it or not. On the IT side, there was an immediate need to support an entire corporate user-base that, for some, numbered in the tens of thousands of users; all connecting remotely from home, including traders, bankers, front and back office personnel, as well as the IT people that were required to make it all work properly. From the many publicized stories of the trials and tribulations businesses have faced, luckily the majority of them were able to successfully achieve their goal of getting their employees working productively in just a matter of weeks.
With the quarantine lifting, now is the time for the unsung ‘IT heroes’ to get back to their business-as-usual responsibilities and find newer, more cost-efficient, ways to automate IT projects that will enable organizations to reclaim the time lost administering to these emergency back office needs.
On the IT Front Lines: SPHEREboard
What technologies are available that enable large organizations to reclaim lost time on COVID delayed IT projects? SPHEREboard is an application worth considering. Why?
Pandemic aside, exponential data growth, O365 migrations, and disparate legacy systems is a formula that is difficult to manage and maintain without proper reporting tools, an intense focus, and a logical integration strategy that can automate and stream-line the process of validating open-access as well as user entitlements. Even without a global pandemic, governing and securing data is as critical as ever. No matter the economic outlook or what nature throws at us in the future, given regulations, infrastructure and security requirements around entitlements reviews are here to stay.
A CISO’s job is that of a field general with a plan to prevent bad actors on both sides of the firewall from causing catastrophic harm. Unfortunately, IT professionals have not gotten the necessary credit for waging an international technical war that their college degrees and technical training never prepared them for. It’s often overlooked that when they are not preventing fellow colleagues from stealing data from under their noses, they are battling professionals and IT warriors from countries like North Korea, China, and Russia that are stealing intellectual property and causing the maximum amount of technical damage that they can on a regular basis.
In today’s post-COVID corporate environments, the question becomes “What is a single day of sanity and productivity worth to a technical resource who has had their fingers stuffed in a leaking dam for 2 months, while corporations are beginning to reduce head counts due to no fault of their own?”
It’s human nature to want to contribute, but unfortunately IT is viewed, at times, as a necessary business evil; a digital call-center, rather than the alert, data corrections officers and cyber-security soldiers they have become. Moving forward, a healthy corporate culture and clear mindset will be equally important and the process of automation, as benign as it may sound, will be an important part of the upcoming psychological wellbeing required to reach project goals and stay current.
Automation is the “Simple Button”
Automating the process of gathering, analyzing and remediating data across multiple, complex, systems, while making sense of it all from a single interface, is one way to reclaim lost time and meet project goals. This approach, although complex at times, allows security, compliance, and risk professionals to meet their strategic project milestones in tandem with their business partners who address equally complicated technical issues that corporate doesn’t have the expertise or the time for.
This relationship becomes increasingly important, as many large, regulated companies are finally tossing their technical eggs in the Office 365 basket, entrusting their crown jewels and other proprietary data with the techs at Microsoft. Sounds scary to some but, there is hope, as the mothership out of Redmond always leaves gaps for their 3rd party vendors and partners to fill in.
SPHERE Technology Solutions offers software and services to large financials, banks and law firms, as well as other regulated industries that require the institutional knowledge and technical expertise to effectually limit IT risk and prove audit compliance on a regular basis. By automating the collections, analysis and remediation of unstructured data such as the distributed file system, OneDrive, SharePoint and other areas of the Microsoft stack, SPHEREboard can automatically close open access, excessive access and non-standard access as well as provide the facilities to manage and maintain other problematic areas of the infrastructure. These results can be easily achieved by employing SPHEREboard’s proprietary methodologies or by leveraging existing legacy solutions that are already in place. It is not an insurmountable rip and replace discussion.
As the IT world recovers and attempts to do more with less, automation is the key to reclaiming lost time. SPHEREboard enables organizations that are struggling to recover from the epidemic by enabling administrators to do more with less.
On a lighter note, outside of possibly Dustin Hoffman’s character in Rain Man, there is not a single person in IT looking to solve a problem who would find pleasure or analytical value in pouring over a 100,000 page Microsoft Excel spreadsheet with a billion rows. The reality is that they would only find out that another group solved the problem a decade earlier and they have unwittingly retired to Florida.
Again, it is human nature to want to contribute. If there is one thing that makes a software engineer happier than playing the Little Dutch Boy, it is logic, automation, and clarity. Also known in certain IT circles as the SIMPLE BUTTON. Time to flush.