2023: it’s time to adopt a strategy for change

We are clearly in a period of recession. But for all businesses, it’s a good time to put a change strategy in place. Here’s why 2023 needs to be the year to optimize and automate your IT…

The pandemic has shown companies that they need to be more agile in order to react quickly to sometimes unexpected events. The looming economic recession is an example of an unexpected factor whose repercussions may well exceed those of the periods of confinement that we have experienced during the pandemic. Unfortunately, companies tend to suspend development during economic downturns, cancel contracts, delay projects, and generally “batten down the hatches” to weather the storm.

At first sight, this approach, often motivated by financial reasons, seems logical. It allows you to temporize. After all, when the economy is faltering, why do anything that might rock the boat? Better to reduce the activity as much as possible and try somehow to resist the turbulence, right? Fake. This approach makes it more difficult to achieve business goals, and in most cases is not the right approach to take. Instead, companies should take advantage of a downturn to reduce complexity and transform IT infrastructure to make it more efficient.

Use this time to optimize and automate

Reassessing the operation of the business can bring about significant improvements. As the pandemic has proven, IT is now a strategic business tool when used intelligently to transform operations. Times of scarcity stimulate creativity. In this case, the adjustments made during a downturn position the business to rebound when the recovery comes.

Here are six stocks to evaluate during an economic downturn:

1- Examine the costs of IT operations

Calculate the amount spent on IT operations over the past year. Where can you save money by eliminating hardware in favor of cloud infrastructures? These migrations are all opportunities to reduce administrative burden and streamline operations for a more agile IT architecture.

Use this moment to compare infrastructure costs before and after the pandemic. Hybrid working has led to a decline in buying and renting office space. If a site is costing you money but some of your staff are now working from home, it might be time for a closer look. In addition, enterprise Virtual Private Network (VPN) infrastructure costs need to be reconsidered if this technology comes up for renewal and budgets are frozen. A cloud-based approach to remote access based on a Zero Trust security model will then strengthen security and performance by securing every access attempt a user makes.

These actions are part of a cloud-focused digital transformation strategy for a lean infrastructure that reduces complexity and helps businesses be more agile and, by extension, more efficient.

2- Move to the Cloud

This approach also reduces the need for hardware, which minimizes maintenance overhead and power consumption while making applications and information access more efficient.

A cloud-first strategy allows professionals to have access to workloads wherever they are, in line with the remote work policies implemented by many companies. It allows companies to focus on their core business by enabling the consumption of IT services through cloud and managed services, without requiring companies to be IT specialists themselves. Additionally, partnering with third-party cloud service providers that use renewable energy contributes to the company’s environmental goals.

3- Automate manual processes

Examining manual activities related to IT and IT security can highlight a range of ways to introduce automation, including through artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML). Consider the example of a responder in a security operations center (SOC) who assesses a security incident to examine data from one application or system and pass that knowledge to another application or system to to perform an action. This process is inefficient; there is an urgent need to find ways to automate these types of activities to improve speed and accuracy.

4- Improve the digital experience

A platform-based approach to IT offers multiple benefits, such as allowing employees to work anywhere or streamlining access to applications and systems. AI can be used to identify issues causing poor digital experiences when it comes to connecting users to their online conferences, freeing IT and security teams from troubleshooting tasks. Some problems can be solved more easily: a system that crashes when a particular action is performed or an application that never grants access on the first attempt, for example. Tools—including digital experience monitoring—that identify pain points in the user experience can be key to maximizing results when employees work wherever they want.

5- Reduce the attack surface and review risk management

All companies have redundant domains, hardware, and systems that should be considered vulnerabilities; at the very least, it expands the attack surface of the enterprise, which has the effect of increasing its vulnerability to breaches in an environment of resource scarcity. There are tools, some of which are free, that can assess the attack vector of the IT infrastructure and highlight gaps that need to be addressed in terms of risk management. Reducing the attack surface and optimizing risk management are a guarantee of security for companies.

6- Automate data flows

Automating data flows can improve speed, accuracy and efficiency. Assuming users are distributed across the globe, and in a hybrid environment, knowing who the users are, what services they consume, and where the data they need resides is critical. Often the data resides in disparate systems that are poorly integrated or, in the worst case, requires manual analysis. It slows down business decisions, wastes time, and requires effort that businesses simply can’t provide. The solution is to connect to a web proxy, authentication and data loss prevention (DLP) to security information and event management (SIEM). This will have a measurable impact in areas such as DevOps and compliance workflows.

Assessing IT optimization opportunities is a good starting point for a business to initiate a change strategy. However, too often companies approach the issue of IT upgrade from a solutions perspective, focusing their efforts on how a particular solution fits into their business. To achieve a viable and timely outcome for the business, all business stakeholders must be involved: security, compliance, operations, etc. This in order to obtain a complete vision of the usefulness of IT changes for the company.

Instead of closing themselves off to change, companies should then take advantage of this economic downturn to reassess the situation, examine the IT infrastructure and ask themselves how they can optimize the way they operate. By investing time and effort to optimize and automate now, businesses can emerge stronger from this crisis.

By james tuckerpre-sales director at Zscaler,

Also read:

A cloud platform is more than the sum of its parts in an M&A transaction.

Cyber ​​risk: how to protect business data against ransomware and double extortion.

Minimize cyber risk with industry-leading ZTNA features.

The Security Service Edge (SSE) leaves the world of networks behind.

Zero Trust: secure communication between workloads in the cloud.

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2023: it’s time to adopt a strategy for change

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