Maintaining business continuity with proper IT infrastructure and security tools a challenge for IT pros during COVID-19 crisis

Learning from this crisis, IT decision makers report they’re accelerating business continuity investments in cloud migration and productivity tools and aiming to close current security gaps

Maintaining business continuity with proper IT infrastructure and security tools a challenge for IT pros during COVID-19 crisis - CIO&Leader

The COVID-19 crisis led countries and organizations to shut down physical offices and move operations online. This was not easy as IT professionals and departments needed to maintain business continuity and best meet the needs of the customer at the same time. Business continuity plans are integral to companies’ ability to withstand an unanticipated crisis. On top of that, the security aspect also needed to be taken care of. However, according to a LogicMonitor study, only 35% of IT professionals feel very confident about their organization’s business continuity plan while a LogRhythm study reveals 93% of security professionals lack the tools to detect known security threats. So, maintaining business continuity with the right IT infrastructure and security tools is still a challenge for IT professionals during the current COVID-19 crisis.

IT teams lack confidence in their infrastructure’s resilience

Business continuity plans are integral to companies’ ability to withstand an unanticipated crisis. 86% of companies have a business continuity plan in place prior to COVID-19, 12% of respondents have minimal or no confidence at all in their organization’s plan to withstand an unanticipated crisis; only 35% of respondents feel very confident in their plan, according to the LogicMonitor study. 

IT decision makers also expressed overall reservations about their IT infrastructure’s resilience in the face of a crisis. Globally, only 36% of IT decision makers feel that their infrastructure is very prepared to withstand a crisis. And while a majority of respondents (53%) are at least somewhat prepared to take on an unexpected IT emergency, 11% feel they are minimally prepared or believe their infrastructure will collapse under pressure.

IT teams lack confidence in their ability to deliver digital services

84% of global IT leaders are responsible for ensuring their customers’ digital experience, but nearly two-thirds (61%) do not have high confidence in their ability to do so, according to the LogicMonitor’s study. The study further revealed more than half (54%) of IT leaders experienced initial IT disruptions or outages with their existing software, productivity, or collaboration tools as a result of shifting to remote work in the first half of 2020. Within the Education sector, nearly a quarter (24%) of IT professionals stated that their employer did not have a business continuity plan in place to deal with the current crisis.

Overall, 70% of IT professionals are finding it challenging to adapt to their new responsibilities of supporting a remote workforce. Respondents report significant concerns relating to security and stability; specific challenges experienced include the struggle to deal with outages remotely, and the network strain from the increase in remote employees using IT systems. These concerns represent a serious threat to the ability to deliver seamless digital experiences that consumers increasingly demand.

Deployment of redundant security tools an issue

68% of security professionals admitted their organization has deployed redundant security tools, and 56% confess this overlap is accidental — once again emphasizing the need for improved strategic oversight from executives, according to the LogRhythm study. Despite duplicative tools, 58% of respondents said they still need increased funding for tools when asked what additional support their security programs require.

Consequently, the report highlights the growing value of IT consolidation. Security professionals rate the value of solution consolidation highly, citing top benefits as less maintenance (63%), faster issue detection (54%), identification (53%), and resolution (49%), as well as lower costs (46%) and improved security posture (45%). Yet, only one in three companies (32%) have a real-time security dashboard which provides a clear, consolidated view of all their security solutions.

Learning from this crisis, IT decision makers report they’re investing in productivity tools and expanding the use of cloud-based solutions and platforms to maintain business continuity and serve customers during the global pandemic and into the future.

Overall, according to the LogicMonitor study, 35% of organizations are investing additional funds in IT infrastructure monitoring, and 23% are investing in Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning as ways to better cope with company-wide remote work policies.

COVID-19 is dramatically accelerating cloud adoption

91% of IT professionals are working remotely and a full 78% said their entire company is working remotely, according to the LogicMonitor study. Indeed, 87% of IT leaders report COVID-19 is driving the need to work from home, which in turn is accelerating their migration to the cloud. 

Prior to COVID-19, IT professionals said 65% of their workload was in the cloud. However, just six months later, that number increased to 78%. With this in mind, 74% think it will take five years or less for more than 95% of all workloads to run in public, private, and hybrid cloud environments. 

While cloud migrations and usage soars, on-premises IT workloads are experiencing a substantial decline due perhaps in part to the global pandemic. Pre-COVID-19, 35% of workloads was housed on-premises. Now, IT professionals expect on-premises workloads to decrease to 22% by 2025.

IT leaders are embracing automation

The benefits of IT automation have become increasingly clear in the first half of 2020: 50% of IT leaders who have a “great deal of automation” within their IT department also say they’re very confident in their ability to maintain continuous uptime and availability during a crisis, as per the LogicMonitor study. 

While the vast majority of IT decision makers (88%) say there has been a greater focus on automation in their department over the past three years, an even greater majority, 94%, say they expect this focus on automation to increase in the coming three years. 

In more normal times, IT leaders see automation as a business enabler that allows them to operate more efficiently and focus on innovating rather than keeping the lights on. 74% of IT leaders say they employ intelligent systems like artificial intelligence and machine learning to provide insight into the performance of their IT infrastructure. And 93% of IT leaders say automation is worthwhile because it allows IT leaders and their teams to focus on more strategic tasks and initiatives.

However, although some IT professionals fear job loss due to automation, others view it as a saving grace when faced with the spectre of pandemic-related layoffs or budget cuts. Nearly three quarters (72%) of IT leaders believe that the automation of IT tasks would enable their department to operate effectively in the case of staff reduction. 

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