IT Operations

How IT Decision-Makers Will Lead in 2021

The pandemic challenged and then empowered IT organizations. Here's where they're headed next.

The shift to remote work that accelerated sharply beginning in early 2020 took businesses around the world by surprise. Suddenly, employees and other workers were doing their jobs from outside the office, far from the protected networks and watchful eyes of IT departments.

As unimaginable as the work-from-home transition may have seemed to IT departments pre-pandemic, companies were able to successfully support remote work while preserving productivity and keeping attacks at bay.

That raised interesting questions: If such rapid digital transformation was possible, what other far-reaching projects might be within reach? And with a vastly more distributed IT infrastructure demonstrating itself to be resilient, agile, mobile and secure, what else could a company quickly accomplish?

Tanium partnered with PSB Insights, a global research and analytics consultancy, to explore these and other questions. PSB Insights surveyed IT decision-makers (ITDMs) at 500 enterprises — half in the U.S. and half in the U.K. — across a variety of industries, including financial services, manufacturing, health care, retail and technology. More than half of the respondents are C-level decision-makers.

[Learn how to reduce IT gaps to make your business more resilient]

Here are some key takeaways.

1. Workers are behaving in riskier ways

A change in work environment naturally leads to a change in worker behavior. But some changes are riskier than others. These are the most troublesome behaviors our respondents have seen since the beginning of the pandemic through today.

2. IT faces new challenges and increased complexity 

After the pandemic hit, most organizations suddenly found themselves dealing with new security challenges and a far more complicated IT environment — unsurprising given the rapid deployment of additional devices and applications.

3. Security and operations confront a perimeter-less enterprise 

Firewalls that once provided a bulwark against attackers have become less relevant as more work happens on less secure home networks. Survey respondents said the following areas present the biggest challenges in the work-from-home world.

4. Leading companies prioritized remote work and the cloud before the pandemic

Companies that had already embraced a remote workforce and cloud services found themselves ahead of their peers in adopting new technologies.

5. Businesses are primed for digital transformation

After finding they could do in months what they thought might take years, companies are asking: What else is possible? And what is required to make it happen? The survey found businesses accelerating investments in a range of technologies. Some technologies, such as augmented reality, are likely intended to enhance remote-work collaboration. Others, such as data and information security, are meant to keep rapidly evolving IT infrastructures secure and compliant. 

Compared to their pre-pandemic plans, companies are accelerating investments in seven areas:

Kevin Gray
Kevin Gray is the Editor-in-Chief of Endpoint. He is an award-winning journalist who has traveled the world covering business and technology. His work has appeared in Wired UK, The New York Times Magazine and The Wall Street Journal. He is a former business news producer at CNN and the former executive editor of Popular Science.