Digital transformation is crucial to the future of business technology. Steve Daly of Ivanti explains the enormity of the challenge and how the service desk will contribute.
I don’t think there’s a CIO in the country today that hasn’t been tasked with driving digital transformation. It’s the only way to ensure the organisation has the speed and agility to grow and stay competitive. With the right blend of people, process and technology, it can even help elevate the CIO’s standing within the enterprise and at the heart of the board. But going digital also opens the organisation up to new threats, especially in the mobile space. The key to success will be in managing this new risk without impeding staff productivity and inadvertently encouraging the growth of shadow IT. This understandably creates major challenges for service desks professionals who work at the fulcrum between business users and the IT department.
Threats are everywhere
Going ‘digital-first’ is not a nice-to-have anymore, it’s essential. A Global Center for Digital Business Transformation report claims four of today’s top 10 incumbents in each industry could be displaced by more digitally disruptive rivals over the next five years. At the heart of this digital change is mobility – enabling staff to access corporate data and other services from any internet-connected device, anywhere, anytime.
But in reality, breaches of security are inevitable. There were 18 million new malware samples recorded in Q3 alone, and a 22% quarter-on-quarter increase in the number of data breach cases dealt with by the ICO in April-June. The key, therefore, is to focus on reacting quickest to contain the potentially catastrophic effects of such breaches.
The bigger picture
CIOs who want to lead by example in driving through digital transformation need to think carefully about how they manage this huge growth in enterprise security risk across an explosion in corporate endpoints. The answer is in unifying IT teams to ensure they’re all pulling in the same direction, and reaching out to users so that any new processes are aligned to business needs.
And this is where the service desk comes into its own. The service desk should be the focus for your efforts as its visibility into your organisation is unrivaled. It’s often the first point of contact when devices are lost, or if a user spots an issue with their computer. With the right communications lines into other teams it can coordinate and escalate certain issues to IT security if needed, and vice versa.
But it also needs to be armed with the right set of automated, unified endpoint management tools. Automation is the key to managing a huge set of endpoints – especially multiple device types and operating systems – while multiple layers of protection are needed to mitigate risk from today’s varied set of threats.
An effective layered security approach should include, but would not be limited to:
- automated patch and configuration management to enhance stability and close down attacks exploiting known vulnerabilities
- app whitelisting to mitigate the risk of zero-day threats and ransomware
- encryption to protect data if it gets into the wrong hands
- device control capabilities to automatically apply security policies for removable media
- threat protection / anti-virus to deal with ‘background noise’ malware
- the ability to manage effectively on or off premise
Automation, mobility and security, anchored around the service desk, are vital to digital transformation. But CIOs must remember that so too is listening to the organisation’s IT users. Offer self-service where possible to ensure security processes don’t block productivity. This cultural or mindset change might not come easy to IT, but without it the digital-first company will remain a pipe dream.
Steve Daly is CEO of Ivanti.