Instantly Digital: Tech Accelerates to a New Normal - Part 2

April 23, 2020 | What's Hot | 4 min read

It's tempting to talk about the "new normal." But, we need to acknowledge that what most individuals and businesses are going through now is nothing like normal, rather a very abnormal stretch. When we move past the "curve" and start to get back some semblance of our previous business operations, companies will begin to carve out a different, adaptable model that will be more flexible and virtual when needed. There is much to be gained by working together in an office environment, but we can’t expect always to have that benefit.

It's not about going back to the way we were or settling into a new routine; it’s about going forward.

Who knows what that will look like. Will we ever go out in public without masks and 6-feet of separation, or return to handshaking, hugging, or other physical greetings?

Just as our personal lives will evolve, so will the so-called "business-as-usual." Becoming Instantly Digital has been a genuine challenge for even the most prepared organizations. But, it's opened new opportunities as well.

Security Under Pressure

How do your penetration testing and remote work testing still go on smoothly from decentralized sites? Do you have the tools in place to conduct these tests and continue to engage in informal dialog with your security peers? With teams, units, and whole organizations working remotely now, security is being pressure tested in real-time.

Most enterprises have customer data, payment information, and other identifying information, but do they genuinely protect it from nefarious actors? The FCC in the US has warned that robocalls are targeting people with test kits, martial law, charitable contributions, HVAC cleaning for protection from COVID-19, confirming your check from the Fed, and other dubious offers.

Every organization needs to ensure that security is the top priority and that their security professionals can work from anywhere, anytime.

Crisis as a Catalyst for Change

Think about how we learn from the lessons of this pandemic. Is telehealth ready to become a mainstay of health systems everywhere? Next time, will the world respond in a more united manner? Will world leaders speak facts that are data-driven and understand the tools available to battle the next world crisis?

When future generations look back upon this time, they'll ask, "How well did the world unite to battle a common cause?" One of the artifacts may become how well we shared information and data about the disease and how and where to fight it.

This may also be a catalyst to spur on a change for which several industries are overdue.

Think about the industries that are at the forefront and struggling now. Our health care around the globe should be connected to real-time alerts of disease outbreaks, regardless of the country. All of that takes technology in the cloud, data deployed in real-time, and tools to make this all safe, secure, distributed, and available to those that can find the anomalies and detect elusive "needles in a haystack" on resilient data platforms.

Today, much of the global effort focuses on limiting the spread of the outbreak. Dr. Saif Abed, founding partner and Director of Cybersecurity Advisory Services at AbedGraham, warns that disease surveillance is dependent on real-time, quality data that can be shared to support analysis, modeling, and forecasting. Organizations of all types need to keep pushing data science into all aspects of business and industries.

Data Can and Does Save Lives: We Need Data-Driven Leaders and Actions

One of the silver linings of this pandemic is that each company is forced to digitally transform into an organization that will be future-ready for what comes at humanity next. If we fall back to the way we were, we're destined to repeat our mistakes.

"The potential for COVID-19 to encourage deployment of digital transformation is considerable," says Dr. Charles Alessi, Chief Clinical Officer of HIMSS, owner of MobiHealthNews. "In the UK, we are still at 1% in terms of using 'digital first'-consultations in primary care. This may well prove to be the event that transforms that."

What gives me hope is that companies from all industries are helping out with charitable donations. Kraft-Heinz, KFC, Under Armour, Netflix, Prada, and tech giants like Microsoft, Apple, Amazon, and IBM all are donating towards fighting the virus. You can simply Google them to find out what they're doing.

What we're experiencing is by no means ordinary, but the processes and programs created to address today's challenges have the potential to be a transformative transition. When we all get through this, we'll start to see a genuine new normal emerge.

I am hopeful that technologists around the world will help make better responses possible.

Mike Hendrickson is the VP, Technology & Developer Products at Skillsoft.

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