There has been a recent report by Naukri.com that states that India has observed a seventh-fold growth in WFH job requirements. This will have a multi-angled impact on the IT industry from different aspects.
The impacts will be resonating in the digital transformation, cybersecurity, and talent acquisition industry. On this note, we are sharing expert commentary inputs on how the IT industry will be impacted by this particular development.
Nikhil Korgaonkar, Regional Director, India, and SAARC at Arcserve
“COVID-19 has been the biggest watershed moment for business and economy in recent times and it has given the world an unexpected and entire new course to flow ahead. As the economy becomes increasingly digital, the growing cyber threat is outpacing most companies’ ability to manage it effectively. ‘Work from home’ is the first and the biggest change, that has fissioned into several other chains of changes, more broadly to two important phenomena. One is the exposure to cybersecurity vulnerabilities for most organizations and the other is the chaotic urgency to adopt cloud-based services i.e. a completely digital approach to business, which again connects back to cybersecurity measures.
During mid-June, when more than COVID pandemic, cyber-attacks started becoming a far more serious and widespread quandary, the Indian Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT-In), the government’s nodal cybersecurity agency, had to put out an advisory against possible phishing attacks. Telecom majors in India had to upgrade their security operations center to a higher threat-level status with a week’s time. Seemingly, work from home policy was inspiring cybercriminals to develop newer ways to barge into the networks.
It is therefore important that organizations not only workout on elaborate and fully-covered data protection and cybersecurity plan but it is also vital that employers and employees both stay in close contact with each other like never before. Both must take equal responsibility to check that their systems and networks are updated and have protection applied in every layer of data. It is a time that everyone must be extra vigilant with every email or documents that are getting shared and be only allowed to open or download after cross-checking its credibility. The exchange of data between on-site and working from home employees must not only be adequately protected but the home office IT set-ups do not give in to newer forms of cyber assaults. It is high time that companies prioritize preventive measures to address the loss of corporate data and intellectual property.”
Brijesh Miglani, Lead Security Consultant at Forcepoint
“The global pandemic has forced millions globally to work-from-home (WFH) and so is the case in India. The current situation has shown businesses that they can be just as productive and collaborative working remotely. However, the downside of the WFH has been the surge in the number of cyberattacks experienced by organizations in the past six months, putting their employees and their critical data at risk.
Employees are doing whatever they can to meet the needs of their customers and collaborate with colleagues, using even their own devices and home networks. If the corporate-approved digital platform is experiencing connectivity and application access issues, employees tend to find an alternative trying to work through. However, these devices and home networks can never provide the organizational-level security and hackers are taking advantage of it. In fact, Forcepoint X-Labs’ research found that unwanted emails using coronavirus-linked keywords rose from negligible values in January 2020 to more than half a million per day by the end of March 2020, settling down to around 200,000 per day right through until the end of May.
Sometimes, a single device is used by multiple people at home to access different networks. If this device is compromised on one network and then used on another, it allows an opening to the bad actors on the other network as well. The use of the same device by multiple people can also lead to unauthorized data access causing unauthorized upload and download of the organisation’s critical data. This may not necessarily be caused by bad actors only but can be due to well-intentioned employees as well.
Organizations need to adopt new security architecture platforms that are cloud-hosted and hybrid ready. In this hybrid environment, employees working from home will be protected by the cloud infrastructure, and when they work from the office, they are protected by the office security infrastructure. This allows organizations’ freedom from using different types of technologies for different environments. Many CISOs and IT heads would want to monitor the user behavior to prevent unauthorized access into the corporate networks and provide security to their employees working from home. For this, organizations need to ensure cybersecurity procedures and tools follow the employee – whether at home or interacting with data in the cloud. A SASE architecture approach that is cloud-first, end-user aware, and powered by a converged security platform with unified user policy delivers a compelling path forward. Forcepoint’s data-centric SASE solutions allow enterprises to adopt this approach by simply extending their existing on-premises policy to the cloud to protect work-from-home users.”
R. Arun Prasath, CIO at EverestIMS Technologies
“The Pandemic and its after-effects have significantly accelerated the WFH job market. This in turn has become an engine, driving the digitization journey of whole industries and verticals. Employers have now begun to discover that with proper systems in place, an employee can work efficiently and sometimes even more effectively due to saved time commuting (especially in nightmare traffic like Bangalore’s) and balancing out home, health, and work in a proper manner.
This has now led to a change in the dynamics of hiring and choice of candidates. In fact for certain jobs that don’t require great face to face interaction, one can even hire a person in a tier 2 town which has given us greater access to talent at an optimal cost. This will also contribute to the economies of smaller cities as the virtual workforce will now make significant contributions to their local ecosystems and micro-economies. In fact, companies will gain access to talent that for want of personal reasons could not leave their hometowns.
Those companies that have made the relevant investments that enable this transformation will be the agile and nimble ones who are able to leapfrog the ground issues while ensuring that their delivery is uninterrupted and even rendered much more efficient due to a highly responsive workforce. These are the ones that have placed their customers at the center of all their decisions and actions.
WFH has accelerated the climb towards Digital Transformation and smoothened the curve, resulting in a sustained and faster adoption across workforces and enterprises. The successful enterprises are those who have been able to evolve their management practices, work culture, technology mix, and operational setup. The result has been a transformation in the output of work resonating in higher velocity, variety, volume, and value.”
Prashanth GJ, CEO at TechnoBind
“WFH is here to stay and for us, at Technobind we are seeing it pan out very interestingly. Initially, we had the belief that Building and managing relationships while engaging remotely for a typical salesperson is challenging. – but what we are seeing is that people are adapting very quickly. And more importantly, we are seeing increased productivity across functions. While there will be the odd person not able to cope up with a self-discipline perspective of maintaining the working ethos required while WFH – most of them have actually expressed and demonstrated that they are growing into it.
So for a multi-location organization like us – where we were forced to put people in every region and city to serve the needs of customers and partners – whether, from a sales or a technical perspective, we are now realizing that we can actually normalize our spread of resources and ensure we have the best person for the job regardless of which city or geography is he in. So in line with this, most of our hiring in the last 2 months has been looking for the best fit resource regardless of location as we are looking at him/her WFH“
Gurpreet Singh, Managing Director at Arrow PC Network (Dell Technologies Titanium Partner)
“Employees need to be self-motivated, disciplined, and highly professional to excel in such scenarios as Covid-19. Being close to family and still being able to work without any interruptions has been the main reason why WFH has become a popular choice among employees as well as employers. 76 percent of organizations reported productivity has either maintained or increased as a result of working remotely. It has become imperative for companies to put a cap on data leakages and phishing scams by implementing a robust security infrastructure to sustain the benefit of working from home. This will not only give an opportunity for employees but will also help freelancers, which is also a growing trend. This option is providing a good work-life balance to employees and the retention rate is high, it is cost-effective for both employees and employers. This trend has also given rise to hybrid in-office and remote-based companies where tools focused on remote working, services and resources will continue to grow. Unified workspace, endpoint security, cloud services will help in providing security and high productivity for remote working.”
S Sriram, Chief Strategy Officer at iValue InfoSolutions
“Digitalized world has become essential for survival due to Covid-19 pushing organizations to embrace both for internal and external processes.
With COVID still surging in numbers, 66% of organizations are entirely reconsidering their new investments in their offices along with curtailing current space and spend, with WFA likely to get extended till proven vaccine is made available to the masses.
Very few industries had WFA options before COVID and it was seen more as a DR/BC need than for sustained operations. With Covid-19 this thinking had to get changed to sustainable, safe, and scalable WFA across the board. This is still a concern as performance, security, and privacy under this option are not comparable to the in-office environment with much better IT infrastructure, connectivity, and security investments.
Application and Network performance management, secure connectivity to network and application in the private and public cloud, multi-factor authentication for allowing authorized access in WFA scenario, bolstering endpoint security with every endpoint being directly exposed to internet and threats with minimal protection, scaling Hybrid cloud to have the flexibility to move workloads to the public from private and also between multiple public clouds are some of the immediate needs of most organization to 1st ensure continuity and then grow securely meeting all compliance and privacy needs.
Many of the customers for our BPO’s did not allow WFA due to the sensitivity of their data w.r.t privacy and compliance. Hence despite having the technology option some of the firms could not leverage WFA for business continuity. With the prolonging of lockdown and travel restrictions, all stakeholders are working together to address each other’s needs collaboratively to overcome these challenges. We hope over time WFA will become a silver bullet for all types of industries and look forward to actively supporting all needs around privacy and compliance to thrive in these challenging times.”
Shibu Paul, VP – International Sales at Array Networks
“Work from home has been an option for a very long time, but now employees, as well as employers, are looking to make this arrangement permanent. While the tech giants’ headquarters will likely remain in place, the use of space will change. Employees now are looking forward to a new and flexible work environment, where sitting in cubicles has become the thing of the past, the new generation of employees now prefer to either work from home or cafes. This is not just limited to the IT sector, from education to general sectors WFH has led to a leap in digitization. But security is still a concern for remote work as many companies are at the risk of being a target of cyber attacks of all forms. One phishing email to a vendor with access to the company’s website may lead to the compromise of sensitive data of the company and its employees. Remote Access Security Solutions will help in fighting such cyber-attacks and protecting the assets of the company, employees, and everyone associated with them.”