The concept of digital transformation did not sprout all of a sudden during this pandemic season. It has been evolving for the past ten years, to take its current form. But undoubtedly, the pandemic has accelerated the progress of digital transformation by huge leaps.
What is digital transformation, you ask
Digital transformation is not just about investing in the latest technology. It is a continuous process that involves mundane, but critical, work to build a strong digital base, initiative to integrate different platforms, a cultural transformation, and swimming with the tide with an adaptive mindset. Digital transformation encompasses the latest in technology like cloud, cyber security, Artificial intelligence, blockchain, internet of things etc. Your organization would be missing out on a huge chunk of benefits if it neglects the digital transformation bus. As conversations around digital transformation heat up, one terminology that has gathered attention is the digital transformation mindset. Why is it that the word ‘mindset’ is associated with digital transformation here? As you know, digital transformation is not just about technology. It is also about the people involved in bringing the technology to use. That’s where cultivating the right mindset becomes key in driving digital transformation. Come on! Put your thinking hats on!
What is a digital transformation mindset?
Like any kind of transformation, digital transformation brings in a change. And having a digital transformation mindset builds that confidence in you to use digital technologies to solve your problems. A bunch of qualities is what differentiates people with a digital mindset from the rest.
Here are a few of them.
• Adaptive: A person with a digital transformation mindset responds well to change. He/she dares to disrupt and take initiative. He is flexible and upskills himself to adapt to the changing needs of the environment. • Growth-Oriented: Digital transformation mindset is driven by curiosity and commitment. Such a person is always on the lookout to learn new things and implement them. • Failure: Many a time, failure prevents you from taking the next big shot. A person with a digital transformation mindset views failure as a learning opportunity. • Ecosystem focus: Having a digital transformation mindset prompts a person to view the larger picture. He/she prioritizes the well-being of the whole multiorganizational system; Not just their company.
But how does one cultivate a digital mindset?
There is no guideline on how you can cultivate a digital transformation mindset. But certain proven strategies listed below might get you there, with ease. • Start driving digital mindsets from the top: Like any other major transformation, a top-down approach would be suitable in cultivating a digital mindset in your organization. Change must begin from the level of senior officers, since credibility always rests with them. • Create a safe-to-fail environment: As discussed above, we still take failures with a heavy heart. The negativity associated with failures has to change to make way for innovations. Senior management must make it a point to motivate employees to experiment. • Launch a New Horizontal Department: Building horizontal teams have reaped huge benefits for many organizations. A horizontal department like a digital incubator supports the business in research and in coming up with cutting-edge technology to overcome obstacles. • Build a Case for Doing Nothing: If innovation is what your organization sincerely yearns for, a slight drop in productivity is an expected outcome. Informal discussions can not only help one gather thoughts but make room for more creativity.
Hence while technology is imperative in steering your business to success, the people behind it must be given the importance they deserve. Nurturing the right mindset in the human workforce will not only help in executing your business’ digital transformation strategy but ensure that it succeeds in the future. This is a herculean task that requires more than just technical training. Since it involves people, a radical shift in thinking and decision-making is what will help in the long term.
You have all the crucial information in the world online. But is it secure? Are you confident that there is no loophole in your security system? With governments and businesses shifting online at a faster pace than ever before, the need for awareness and education on cyber security has increased. We need to be cautious in designing a framework for a future- a cyber smart one.
Let’s understand this step by step.
What is cyberspace?
In layman’s terms, cyberspace is the virtual space created by computers. Interaction via cyberspace happens virtually. Anyone using the internet is a participant in cyberspace.
Challenges of cyberspace
Love it or hate it, you can’t ignore technology! The way technology has been shaping the world around us is phenomenal. You would be living in a fool’s paradise if you believed cyberspace to be a safe zone. With increased access to the internet, cybercriminals are having a field day. Cyber thefts and frauds are a common story now. In this era of IoT (Internet of Things) where companies and brands try to make optimum utilization of the existing technologies, we must know the threats and challenges that cyberspace poses.
Get an insight into the challenges posed by cyberspace:
• Disruption: A technique used by cybercriminals to distract you, can cost your business time and money. They might try disrupting your business through internet outages or through ransomware which has been on a rise recently.
• Distortion: Hackers may try distorting data put out on your website. The distorted data might cause your customers to be cheated.
• Cloud jacking: Cloud services are used by many businesses these days. Cloud jacking is when a third party infiltrates your cloud service. Hacking cloud platforms is one of the challenges in cyber security for businesses. Carrying out such an attack on the enterprise data could pose a massive threat to the organization.
• IoT Attacks: IoT devices are devices used in computing, digital, and mechanical systems, which autonomously transmit data over a network. Many everyday devices like some in-car apps, fitness trackers, etc make use of IoT. Cyber security threats are looming large with the use of IoT devices is increasing regularly. Sensitive data finds its way into the hands of attackers if IoT devices as attacked.
• Insider threats: Extra precautions are required to be taken by businesses to prevent insider threats posed by employees to cause harm to the company. There are tools available that can detect and respond to insider threats. Businesses can make use of them to safeguard valuable information.
• Deepfakes: A deep fake uses artificial intelligence to take an image, video, etc, and manipulate someone’s image or video with malicious intent. Deepfakes are increasingly being used during elections by political parties. Cybercriminals use deep fakes to impersonate owners/partners of the business to gain access to important data.
• Cryptocurrency and blockchain attacks: Many organizations have started exploring the possibilities of Blockchain and cryptocurrency. Thus, attacking these frameworks can compromise the data of the business and its consumers. Organizations need to be vigilant to close all loopholes that come with using these technologies.
• Vulnerabilities of software: As the saying goes, ‘There is nothing perfect,’ even the most advanced software is vulnerable to attacks. By being late to update their software, businesses might be at risk of inviting major challenges. Hence it should be considered a priority.
• AI and Machine Learning: These high–end technologies can be used to identify targets. Lack of cyber security would be an added disadvantage leading to making the target easy catches.
Well, now you know the challenges in the cyber world, let’s look at what can be done to overcome them.
What does being Cyber Smart mean? Here are a few tips for a cyber smart future:
• Backing up data: In the event of a cyber attack, backed up data and the website of your business can help you recover information. Employing multiple backup methods is a great idea. Checking and testing that data can be restored from the backup is also essential. You can back up the data in an external device like a USB or make use of cloud storage.
• Secure devices and network: This involves updating software, setting up a firewall, installing security software that has anti-virus, anti-spyware filters, etc. Updating these periodically goes a long way in keeping your business cyber safe.
• Encrypting essential information: Turning on encryption would convert data into a secret code before it is sent to the internet. This way, the events of tampering or theft can be checked and prevented.
• Ensure you use multi-factor authentication (MFA): MFA is a security process that asks for two or more identity proofs before you access the account. This provides an additional layer of security for your account.
• Monitor use of computer systems: Better monitoring is the need of the hour. In the absence of a unified monitoring system, businesses turn vulnerable. Keeping an eye on computer equipment and systems used by your business, keeping a record of them, and ensuring they are secure at regular intervals would be useful in building resilience against cyber attacks. It is better to remove any system that is no longer in use.
• Put the right policies and training in place: A clear cyber security policy for your business keeps the employees reminded of the best practices. Through this, they get to know what needs to be remembered when they share data, files, or emails.
• Train your staff to be safe online: Your staff is the first line of defense in the scenario of cyber threats. It’s important to educate the staff on the threats they can face and their role in safeguarding the business. Similarly, training them in identifying cyber threats, reporting one if confronted, etc is also a good option.
• Protect your customers: Since the customer is the king in any business, ensure that your customers’ information is in safe hands. Investing in securing your customers’ data by providing a safe environment for online transactions should be the top priority for any business.
• Cyber security insurance: Cyber liability insurance is a great choice to cover costs for your business in the case of a cyber-attack. Since not merely database repair is caused by a cyberattack, it is suggested that businesses consider cyber security insurance.
• Get advice on cyber security: There are many experts in the field of cyber security. It is best to prepare for adversity than experiencing it first-hand. Hence, taking advice from the right channels helps businesses prepare for and respond to cyber threats
With the cloud hovering over our lives with all our data it is imperative to protect our cloud space. The Digital India program is making more businesses shift gear to the digital route. This opens the door for cyber mishaps. Large technology firms should collaborate and create solutions to increase security for their customers. Developing a robust, community-based cyberculture would be key in preventing such untoward instances.
Hello folks! Let’s talk some business! What is the one thing that helped businesses function during this tough period? Have you wondered how organizations could streamline the work without going off the deep end?
We are at the cusp of hyper-digitization. What began as a wave of digital transformation across the globe 5 years back is making way for more digitization. And Cloud is the cornerstone of that hyper-digitized world – A world of opportunities and a revamped workspace.
A study by RightScale, “State of the Cloud Survey, 7th edition,” shows that nearly 1,000 IT professionals say that 96% of their organizations have active cloud implementations. And 81% who took the survey have more than one active cloud implementation. This clearly points to the importance of a well-advanced IT service. The changing landscape of business has propelled IT service as a determinant of a successful business. These days, the success and failure of any enterprise are invariably tethered to the quality of its IT delivery system.
Digitization driven by the cloud has made businesses survive the disruption. The current situation of the COVID-19 pandemic confined people to their homes, compelling them to work remotely, by communicating, coordinating online. While all sectors, big and small, had to shift to the electronic route, companies had to become extremely dependent on cyberspace to get their work done.
Did it ever occur in your wildest dreams that you would be working for over a year at the comfort of your home? The challenge is to maintain employee productivity and operational efficiency. This couldn’t have been possible if not for cloud computing. In the present circumstances, cloud computing components are vital to overcoming the ongoing situation.
In addition to this, as countries worldwide focus on bringing down the virus spread, the cloud services offer an innovative platform to enhance the productivity of health care workers. It aids in the war against the COVID-19 virus by helping in detecting, tracking, and monitoring the newly infected person. In a way, cloud computing is the silent soldier in the war against the COVID-19 pandemic.
So, what is Cloud Computing?
Cloud computing is the on-demand access to computer-system resources without direct active management by the user. Resources like data storage, applications, tools, and more would be made available by the cloud services provider for a fee charged as per usage. These services are available over the internet on a pay-as-you-go basis. It is inherently designed to manage changing demand and if implemented in the right manner, it can handle increased requests.
Want to understand this in simpler terms? Here it goes!
Cloud computing is a service that lets people use online services that are generally available through any device with an internet connection. This means that the user needn’t be at a particular location to access a particular data. This way, it saves a lot of money and time. There isn’t a requirement for dedicated machinery or software, as everything is taken care of by the applications on the cloud platform.
The term cloud computing is inspired by the image of a cloud that is generally used to represent the internet in diagrams.
It can be public or private. A public cloud makes services available to anyone on the internet. Whereas a private cloud caters only to a limited set of people. The access is provided based on certain access settings. In short, whether private or public, the cloud aims to provide faster innovation, flexible resources, and economies of scale. How cool is that?
Okay. Got it. But, How does cloud computing work?
An active internet network connects the front end (consisting of the client device, browser, network, and software applications) to the back end (comprising the databases, servers, and computers). The communication between the front-end and back-end is managed by a server. Usually, there is a dedicated server for each individual application.
This way cloud computing is revolutionizing the digital space, converting IT infrastructure into a utility. You can top up with infrastructure through the internet to make use of computing resources, all this without installing and maintaining them on your system.
IT giants like Microsoft, Google, and Apple have already shifted to cloud-based models. They are also the largest providers of cloud-based services. Services like Google docs, email, skype, WhatsApp etc can be accessed by the users via the internet, anytime and from anywhere. Other popular examples of cloud-based software include zoom which enables audio and video conferencing no matter where you are.
Several Indian IT companies like Skillmine have adapted to the changing environment offering several cloud services like cloud assessment, migration, optimization, DevOps, and more.
Why is cloud preferred over the traditional model?
Like any innovation, cloud computing has resulted in the sheen of traditional web hosting. Three distinct features set it apart from the traditional model:
Cloud offers a large amount of computing power, unlike the conventional model.
It is flexible, where usage is solely the user’s choice
Let us take a look at 6 ways in which cloud and IT infrastructure are transforming digital space-helping you reinvent your business:
The reduced risk involved: There is no doubt, cloud disrupts the existing security and infrastructure of a business. But once executed, it eliminates operational overhead and risks involved. Improved security offered by the cloud ensures that the risk of losing crucial information during a system breakdown is completely struck down. Multiple backups of data can be made with the help of a cloud. This way, the company is made resilient to vulnerabilities.
Efficient scalability: The pace at which the cloud adds capacity and new services is phenomenal. This ability of the cloud has been particularly of help to tide over the current scenario of the COVID 19 pandemic. A surge in the use of digital channels triggered by the pandemic was met by the cloud’s capability to ramp up and down as per business needs.
Reduced operating cost: Since the cloud offers a scalable service model which prompts businesses to make a payment only for the resources they use, the operating costs are reduced. The resources are scaled based on needs. Thereby reducing costs involved in IT infra management and resource purchase.
Ability to handle enormous volumes of data: The ability of the cloud to work with humungous volumes of data makes it more versatile and productive. Operations, processes, and services are better managed with a cloud by allowing businesses to respond quickly to challenges and solve problems.
Enables faster prototyping: This quality of cloud acts as a catalyst in digital transformation. Limitless innovations, trials, and errors, and implementation are required to make a mark in the digital world. Cloud creates a platform for all of these.
Makes the system more agile: Instead of keeping you waiting for weeks or months, cloud lets your organization start working with the applications in minutes. Additionally, Cloud lets you empower certain users—specifically developers and data scientists—to help themselves develop software and support infrastructure.
Here are some Cloud Computing Services :
SaaS is one of the three available cloud computing services. Saas is the most commonly used one, and a popular cloud service. The advantage of using Saas is that you needn’t be a developer or an IT expert to use it. In a nutshell, SaaS is a model of delivering software and applications over the internet via a subscription. SaaS users pay a monthly or annual subscription fee; some may offer ‘pay-as-you-go’ pricing based on your actual usage Compared to our traditional model, it is truly a game-changer. Saas is also used in many businesses today, for example, communication, customer services, sales, and many more.
IaaS provides on-demand access to computing architecture and infrastructure. In this service model, the cloud provider manages the storage, networking resources, and server. The positives of using IaaS is that it offers enhanced scalability, supporting dynamic workloads, making it faster, efficient, flexible, and easier. However, it has some cons like security issues, service, and networking delays since you are working on a very basic underlying architecture.
PaaS provides an on-demand platform where users can build and run their programs with zero concern about the underlying infrastructure. It offers an environment with hardware, software, infrastructure, and even development tools—for developing, compiling, and running applications without the cost and complexity of maintaining a platform on-premises.
Serverless computing also called simply serverless, allows you to focus on your application logic without having to worry about any servers. There are no servers to maintain, no operating systems to be taken care of, no hardware to upgrade and no software to be managed. Thus you are left with ample time to focus your time on application logic. Other benefits of serverless computing include easy and efficient scaling, high availability, fault tolerance, no idle capacity (pay-as-you-go service).
So what does the future of the cloud hold?
Organizations have already moved ahead of the initial question of selecting multiple cloud providers. They face the challenge of deciding what data should be stored in public and what should go to private cloud services. Another difficulty they face in the initial days is with regards to managing operations across different cloud infrastructures. The next challenge is likely to be about building on that foundation by designing tools, software, and technology to provide a multi-cloud solution.
The computing power is getting more distributed and ubiquitous. The future of cloud-enabled infrastructure is a mix of multi-cloud solutions, not strategies to support virtual work, workforce and workspace, federated security, and distributed DevOps.
A study by Deloitte expects to see a shift in cloud strategies toward cloud migration, security, operations, value planning, and DevSecOps (short form for development, security, and operations). The future of the cloud would lead to a massive increase in data storage capacity, with cloud computing becoming a norm and more enterprises joining the bandwagon. The possibility of delivery of more data centres at a lower price due to more competition in the future. With more and more companies shifting to cloud computing, the issue of safety has become undeniable. In 2018, the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) came into force. This points to the fact that all cloud service providers are aware of the risks involved and are taking measures to be GDPR compliant.
Another possibility the future of cloud computing holds is the Internet of Things along with cloud computing. The most discussed topics during recent years have been artificial intelligence, machine learning, and the Internet of Things. On one hand, IoT helps us to communicate using any device connected to the network. IoT devices can bank on cloud computing which provides high speed, is flexible, and offers more storage area. Another evolving concept is that of the Internet of Everything (IoE). Moving forward, a greater choice of cloud services would be made available. Also, the ability to select specific services from specific vendors will become easier.
Enhanced performance of the internet can be ensured in the future with the help of the Internet of Things and cloud computing. Modular software will be a priority in years to come as applications will be stored in places other than the cloud, that is, on different modules on servers of different cloud services.
A combination of multi-cloud solutions, federated security, and distributed DevOps can help create a future of cloud-enabled work infrastructure needed to make virtual business infrastructure function well.
Health crises like the present-day COVID-19 pandemic paved way for a surge in demand for cloud services. With events like these expected to see a rise in coming years, it is safe to say that cloud is the present and the future. It is growing at a stellar pace, ever-ready for innovations. Cloud transformation will enhance digital transformation, growth of innovative models, new products and services, and eventually foster economic growth. So what’s the catch? By making it possible to thrive during the crisis, cloud technology indicates that it is here to stay. Even after the crisis is over.