Expert SpeakSecurity

Navigating Change with Professional Services

Written by Ephrem Tesfai, Sales Engineering Manager at Genetec

CIOs and IT decision-makers (ITDMs) across the UAE are looking to maximize investments in digitization and drive innovation after a difficult year which raised the profile of IT leaders in driving critical workplace innovation, according to Cisco’s new Accelerating Digital Agility Research. The main goal of an IT provider’s professional services is to optimise the performance of the solutions implemented at the customer’s premises, and thus to meet their operational needs as precisely as possible. However, over a short period of time since the start of the pandemic, these needs have changed radically, as companies have had to adapt and completely rethink their operating methods to cope with the crisis.

To continue to support businesses and their workforce effectively, there is growing pressure on professional services providers to show agility in line with evolving industry demands, developments, such as the growing trend of working remotely, and the ever-increasing cloud consumption.

Remote services to meet the cloud boom
As a direct result of social distancing measures and mass move towards working from home, cloud consumption has grown dramatically in 2020 and is expected to continue to do so in the years to come. In turn, 49% of IT decision-makers are investing in multi-cloud infrastructure, 48% in cloud security, 47% in network security, and 43% in cloud applications in 2021-2022.

To set up their organizations for success in 2021 and beyond, IT leaders have adapted priorities and strategy to focus on core issues including delivering secure collaboration tools to keep distributed workforces productive, maximizing technology investments from the past year, delivering the best digital experience to employees and customers, embracing cloud “as a service,” and tackling corporate and societal issues with technology.

In the physical security sector, where the cloud has traditionally played a minor role, this has resulted in the emergence of hybrid solutions that allow existing solutions to remain on-site, move to the cloud for specific applications and gradually migrate systems as needed. This new development does add a layer of complexity to those carrying out complex, multi-system, and multi-site physical security projects, including the job of integrators who support them.

For professional services, this means offering services linked to easing the transition to a hybrid or cloud model, but also changing the way these services are delivered and packaged so that they are more consistent with the cloud: remote and longer-term services, covering the entire life cycle of the customer and their experience.

Strengthening cybersecurity services
At the same time, cyber-attacks have increased. Hackers have seen and seized many of the opportunities generated by the rapid and improvised implementation of working from home in companies during the initial containment. Cyber-attacks in UAE increased over 190% following remote working shift and this means it’s likely these types of attacks against remote desktop protocols will continue to occur at a rather high rate.

Cybersecurity cannot be improvised. It involves choosing the right solutions, with several layers of protection such as encryption, authentication, and authorisation, and acquired from trusted suppliers, recognised for their transparency and the reliability of their products. This is essential, but it is not enough. To strengthen their cyber hygiene, companies must also consider every integration, every configuration, every password in the deployment and life cycle of their software and hardware solutions. A multitude of risks must be minimised to ensure the best protection.

Professional services are best placed to assist in protecting not only their enterprise customers but their integrators as well. Both of whom can be confident that their solutions have been optimised by the people who know them best: the people who developed and market them. To build resilience, companies need to be able to rely on services that assess their current cybersecurity, across all components of their infrastructure, and professional services need to take a more proactive approach to build resilience.

Ultimately, despite the pandemic, the premise of professional services remains the same: to deliver value and minimise risk in the deployment of systems, and to ensure that everything works as intended over time. As deployments are now more open to the cloud and the risks are greater and more present there’s unrelenting pressure to adapt at little notice. It is this new reality that professional services must consider.

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Chris Fernando

Chris N. Fernando is an experienced media professional with over two decades of journalistic experience. He is the Editor of Arabian Reseller magazine, the authoritative guide to the regional IT industry. Follow him on Twitter (@chris508) and Instagram (@chris2508).

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