The picture out there is mixed, and there is much confusion about the new rules that govern our lives. While large parts of the UK are placed under some form of lockdown, one professor of infectious disease epidemiology claimed that lockdown was a “monumental mistake.” The much anticipated NHS app has been downloaded more than a million times, yet reports suggest that it has only reported one case of an infection outbreak at a venue, while there are concerns about usability and the presence of major glitches.
Wider trends suggest that, despite what we may see on the evening news, levels of socialising have continued to decrease this week after increasing through the summer. The same study by the ONS suggests that, on the work front, the percentage of workers travelling to work – having reached 64% two weeks ago – dropped to 59% last week. A majority (68%) report they are working in new ways, with nearly one in four having learned new skills (24%) and slightly more taking on new responsibilities (27%) or using new equipment (29%). It is not an exaggeration to claim that the world is in a state of flux at present.
Like the virus itself, we still have much to learn about how to handle the pandemic, and while I remain convinced that we need to do everything we can to get the economy back on track, we must ensure that this is done with people’s safety and privacy as the main consideration. In the fullness of time we will learn what measures worked, and what didn’t. Until then, agility and flexibility must underpin all our efforts to manage the pandemic and get back to business.
Making sense of it all
As many commercial buildings remain empty and working from home remains standard practice for many, how businesses work has become ever more important. Most if not all organisations are having to consider how their workflows and processes can be integrated and made more efficient in response to the challenges posed by the pandemic.
The security industry is not immune from this. I have written before about the growing significance of the cloud and the service-based solutions it makes possible. But the need to address workflows also explains the many businesses I see placing a wraparound on their existing security systems to provide an integrated security management platform. Historically, this might have been viewed as a costly procedure, with few immediate benefits. Now, it is an essential way of unlocking value and providing resilience at a time when physical security provisions are seriously compromised.
Just a few changes to the existing system could allow flexibility to ‘stand up’ a virtual control room anywhere in the world at short notice, for review, control, maintenance and configuration, even when offices or main control rooms are closed. However, it is absolutely essential that you choose a qualified partner such as Reliance High-Tech who truly understands cybersecurity, compliance, resilience and data protection.
Of course, when you are placing a wraparound on systems that are spread across disparate geographies, hosted on different networks, and supported by different hardware, it’s not as simple as connecting A, to B, to C. There are implications in terms of data protection, privacy and GDPR, cybersecurity, compatibility, maintenance, uptime and resilience, for example. If these are forgotten, organisations might as well leave the door to their buildings open, because it will have the same effect.
The cloud is the superglue
In our efforts to locate the new normal, one thing is for certain: the world is changing around us, and at great speed. At the risk of sounding like a broken record, we are seeing unprecedented interest among clients for cloud-based solutions, while cybersecurity is fast becoming customers’ biggest concern. Organisations are valuing business continuity above everything else, and require technology to deliver greater efficiency, provide remote services and add value wherever possible.
My personal opinion is that these changes are here to stay, regardless of what the new normal will look like. The adoption of technology has been pushed four or five years’ forward in a matter of months, accelerating what was already happening.
And it’s not just true of security, but all areas of our lives. Online shopping as a percentage of all retail sales has more than tripled in ten years. Is that likely to be reversed? I doubt it. Schools and colleges have embraced online teaching through necessity. That again is unlikely to disappear entirely when the pandemic is over.
No, technology is the glue that is not only keeping business operational at a challenging time, but it’s likely to remain the element that keeps everything together way into the future.
Speak to Reliance High-Tech and find out how we can future proof your organisation’s security and prepare it for the new normal. Stay safe.