The COVID-19 pandemic has demonstrated how necessary digital technology and transformation is for allowing business and personal life to continue and will have a long-term impact how we all more forward from here. Remote work and social distancing have heightened our dependence on technology and accelerated trends in IT. While we hope much of the changes and disturbances, we’ve experienced so far will be temporary, there’s a lot of amazing things happening. Here are five trends we feel will stick around long after the pandemic.
Increase in Remote Working Teams
It may have been born out of necessity for many of us, but companies have adapted to employees working from home as state and city ordinances called for closing non-essential businesses and shelter in place. Now, we are seeing businesses embrace remote working with major giants like Microsoft and Google extending work-from-home policies through the fall or into the end of 2020. We have seen businesses using more collaboration tools to hold meetings, work together on projects and maintain company cultures. And after restrictions lift for good? We don’t see it ever being ‘business as usual’ again. Now that more business owners realize remote work is possible, companies will likely accept a balance between offices and telecommuting with the realization that productivity is possible with a distanced team. Businesses have the ability to scale their workforce without increasing overhead for office space.
Digital Shopping Expansions
We all remember empty shelves, long lines and stay-at-home orders that drove us to purchase groceries, home goods and means of entertainment online. A research study by Forrester showed 21% of adults purchasing groceries online for the first time and 41% buying more things online than ever before. Similarly, as restaurants and brick and mortar stores closed temporarily, they shifted their focus to ecommerce through online ordering and delivery and BOPIS. From grocers to retail, we will likely see ecommerce continue to climb and technology accelerate to meet the needs of greater digital purchasing and accommodate multiple means of purchase and delivery.
New Standards in Cyber Security
In the scramble to get businesses working remotely, the challenge to ensure security often fell by the wayside as data became vulnerable and less protected in a new work environment. McAfee LLC reported a 50% increase in the number of internet-exposed Remote Desktop Protocol ports, as many companies are not prepared for employees to take home fully secure and managed laptops on short notice. Compounded by IT teams also working from home, companies are looking for solutions to increase security and correct vulnerabilities before holes in networks are exploited. Following the pandemic, businesses will need to adjust their asset lifecycles to better manage outdated hardware and software and invest more in cybersecurity solutions.
A number of factors would drive a business to decide a cloud platform is a good implementation strategy for their IT department. The coronavirus pandemic has caused new demand for cloud services for collaboration tools, with Microsoft reporting a 775% spike due to COVID-19. Stay at home ordinances caused a surge in cloud-based technologies for distanced learning and teaching, video conferencing and more. We’ve seen vendors upgrade the functionality of their applications to keep meeting the needs of working and living from one central location. We expect to see SaaS and IaaS continue to rise as businesses migrate more of their processes to cloud-based technologies in response to a more flexible work setting.
Advancements in IoT
IoT will transform how we will be able to predict, treat and respond health issues as a community and on an individual basis. From telemedicine to medical devices, smart tech will lead the way in helping monitor health crises globally. We’ve already seen IoT and GPS tracking assist in slowing the spread of COVID-19 and provide contact tracing capabilities. Telehealth has increased to serve as a way to diagnosis and answer questions through chat features to be able to see patients as fast as possible. And IoT is giving companies and people alike the flexibility to work and maintain relationships with loved ones with a simple voice command or press of a button. As IoT technology expands with the need to social distance, IoT will have a growing role in how we communicate, live and work.
While we don’t know with any certainty how long the COVID-19 crisis will remain, we do know for certain that IT will evolve to solve problems and create solutions now and in the future. And our team at Computer Solutions understands how to keep remote teams working efficiently, collaboratively and securely with customized solutions. Contact us today for any of your IT and remote working needs.