#GartnerSEC: #COVID19 Created New Roles, More Data Collection and Flexible Businesses

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The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic has led to uncertainly and anxiety in society, but also sweeping changes in the way businesses operate and plan for the future.

Speaking during the Gartner Security and Risk Virtual Summit, research VP Roberta Witty called the impact of COVID-19 life changing and stated it has pushed resilience to be a board-level discussion, acting as  “an industry refresh to reshape business for at least the next decade.”

Witty said that many organizations did not have the time to undertake due diligence for the rapid transition, and supply chain was impacted “as China shut down for a few months” and employees reported being stressed, tired and anxious. “Business leaders need to respond rapidly to ensure their organizations remain secure and resilient,” she said.

Citing Gartner research, Witty said 73% of board of directors considered economic slowdown as the top threat shaping their business strategy, but the focus has shifted to resilience, providing essential services that the business requires and “coping with the unexpected in how we work and deliver our products and services.”

She explained that resilience must be at the heart of any project, as “we are in this for the long haul” and this can be achieved by understanding where you are. “Many [businesses] were prepared for traditional business disruption, but few were prepared for a crisis of a global scale lasting months if not years,” Witty said. “We’re living our lives and running businesses with the pandemic all around us, impacting everything we do.”

Adding that “business continuity management is at the heart of every resilience program,” Witty said the biggest change Gartner sees is organizations realizing that monitoring risk and managing operations on day to day basis “must be tightly coupled with crisis planning.”

Among the changes being made, Witty said decisions that would have taken months are now being done in an afternoon, as organizations are “flatter and faster” and layers of the business are compressed. She also said more critical roles are being developed and “work being reworked” as more agile teams are launched and talent reallocated.

“We’re also seeing a shift from design for efficiency to design for resilience,” which Witty said could be a challenge. “We’re also seeing more technology being used, the rapid move to remote work and collaboration tools that go along with that, plus the rapid deployment of digital systems to support these interactions has been substantial.”

Also, there is a growth in data collection in all areas of business “to make better strategic and operational decisions about our businesses.”

Witty also claimed the remote working trend will continue, as we see the emergence of new top tier employees, while the supply chain is pressure-tested and strengthened. “Lastly there will be an increase in organizational complexity over the next few months because of more mergers and acquisitions, nationalization and as big companies get bigger.”

Concluding, Witty said the pandemic has “shaken us personally and organizations to the core” and we need to decide if we lean into the change, or stay stuck in the past. “We cannot rely on the same old habits, so be creative and imaginative,” she said. “So what will you do to move the world forward, and how will you make changes to make someone else’s dreams come true?”

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