By Wendy Hanson, guest blogger
The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the way businesses operate one way or another. For some, that could mean developing digital portals to connect with clients and customers. For many others, the new normal is equivalent to transitioning to a completely remote workforce. At the center of this transformation is an ever-increasing reliance on technology. What organizations need to do now is to learn and apply valuable tech lessons from the pandemic, and these are three of the most crucial:
Empower workers with technology
The success of any kind of technology that can bring your business to the 21st century is dependent on your people. Business leaders who put human capital secondary to tech capital have a short-sighted view. To be strategic about digital transformation, it’s best to focus on upskilling the workforce more than any piece of technology.
The good news is that some businesses have already begun on this front. One example is consulting firm PwC’s digital upskilling program, which is specifically designed to develop their employees’ tech-skills. PwC employee Patricia Miller, who previously worked in the human resources department, now has knowledge on coding and took a role in their IT department. Coding is among the many in-demand tech skills of this digital era, as well as data science, digital marketing, and IT support. To explain this pivotal initiative, PwC’s Joe Atkinson says, “Before there used to be tech jobs, and non-tech jobs. Now there are just ‘jobs’, and everyone needs to have comfort with technology.”
Regardless of what company or industry you’re in, tech skills have become non-negotiable. Investing in the education and training of your workforce is a must to enable the success of your business.
Invest in cybersecurity
Another investment you have to make is cybersecurity. Just last summer, cybersecurity firm BlackCloak revealed the many ways personal networks are vulnerable to cyber threats. Business security is not hard to bypass either, especially if you haven’t critically thought about cybersecurity until now.
Cybersecurity training should become a part of your digital upskilling efforts, given that employees’ lack of awareness is one huge vulnerability that hackers look for and exploit. Online cybersecurity programs are designed to prepare business-minded individuals to develop offensive and defensive strategies against escalating cyber threats. Real-world cases and hands-on training in the classroom setting can be very helpful in setting up your staff to succeed in real life. The bonus is the flexibility remote learning allows, which means that IT professionals could specialize in this skill without disrupting their day-to-day work responsibilities.
Improving network security is not only applicable to large companies. Small businesses are actually more at risk because of their lax cybersecurity. But according to a report from Cyber Readiness Institute, only 45% of SMEs upgraded their cybersecurity measures last year. Experts say that more than any other high-end security measure, employee education is still more important. If enrolling your employees in advanced cybersecurity programs is outside your budget, start by educating them on basic security measures, such as the proper use of VPNs and multi-factor authentication. These are small but much-needed solutions that could go a long way to beefing up your business’s overall security, which could protect your interests in a crisis.
Migrate to the cloud
The remote work era is underscoring the value of migrating to the cloud for businesses. In simple terms, cloud computing is the use of the internet to access a range of services, including storage, software, and analytics.
Cloud computing is already transforming the world of business in a number of ways. One way is how cloud computing serves as the backbone of a highly digital and agile workforce. With cloud computing solutions, your remote business can access information seamlessly, with great flexibility, and without compromising cybersecurity. Contrary to what many believe, the cloud could actually be more secure given its many layers of user identification and encryption.
After almost a year since it began, the pandemic continues to present new challenges to businesses, and with those, new opportunities for learning. One of the biggest lessons a business can learn is that technology is no longer optional, but a necessity to survive and thrive in this day and age.