There’s no doubt we are in an unprecedented time in which employees around the world grappling to a new norm. During the crisis, Information Technology and Security teams in every industry are finding new and innovative ways to ensure productivity doesn’t come to a halt because of this drastic temporary change.
But is it temporary? Or is there a layer of permanency?
I had the opportunity to discuss these timely topics with two professionals in the field – Tim Dzierzek, Director of Information Security at Seismic and Jackie Morrison, Senior Manager of Global IT Support at Nintex.
Below is a portion of the exchange we had on the critical role Information Technology and Security teams play in a crisis.
1. What’s changed in your business over the last couple of months? What are some challenges your team is facing?
There is a dramatic cultural change where normal functions that had always been in-office need to react to being at home. This has been especially difficult for those that require quick face-to-face interaction, such as between Security and IT.
But with the right process in place, we can make this work. The challenge is putting those processes in place.
Security and IT are two distinct groups at Seismic. If someone’s machine gets infected, both security and IT teams need to review, and the luxury of walking down the hall is no longer an option. As a result, we have daily standups with the IT team to hopefully resolve any virtual challenges we face in these challenging times.
So much has changed over the last couple of months, and most obvious for our support team is around how we deal with configuring hardware. At Nintex, employees have a heavy reliance on machines. Before COVID-19, we used to be in the office and be able to configure all computers on the network. Now that we’re not, we need to be creative to ensure people are still productive on Day 1, or if any laptop fails, get it back up and running as soon as possible. That brings in policy decisions like bring-your-own-device or virtual solutions for a future conversation.
2. How do you make sure people you work with know the correct processes?
Even before COVID-19, I’ve always been documenting processes because while people may change, security processes stay largely the same. Documentation is key because that is how you can enable others to understand your process, follow the steps, and drive business continuity. This is especially true during COVID-19 as being virtual leads to minimal disruption.
I’m a massive fan if we can make things self-service. Documentation is critical and documenting repeatable activities so we can share them easily with anyone is paramount. Once your process is documented, people can simply follow the instructions.
Being able to leverage the hard work that our team has put into the documentation process is now paying dividends. The focus for the next few weeks is to start thinking about any policy changes that will likely occur because of this new normal.
3. Documenting processes paves way for digital transformation. What’s your experience been with digital forms and automation?
Being a newer company, and being cloud-native, a lot of tooling and processes are all injected into a digital process, such as our helpdesk ticket and submitting PTO forms. Being digital makes us more flexible because people are not stalled by physical papers.
We need to automate and digitize where we can, especially now. It is especially important when it comes to security, as most communication is done via email. Considering everyone’s working from home, even with one single of failure it becomes a bottleneck to the process. Having automation that routes appropriately to teams will ensure operational continuity.
The usage of digital forms is critical. Our IT solutions team helps us build out great ideas in an automated, digitized format. A good example that we recently digitized is our intake form to get approval from working with new vendors. As you can imagine, onboarding a new vendor has a lot to be considered, such as IT review, security review. You can imagine how long it used to take.
By digitizing and automating this process, it helps us accelerate our business outcome regardless of whether we’re in the office or virtual.