Beyond COVID-19: Defining Digital Priorities in a Post-Pandemic World

01 June 2020

By Chriss Andrews –


The coronavirus pandemic has impacted every facet of our daily lives – from the way we work and live to how we socialise and shop. As people around the world adapt to a new reality, one thing is clear: the global business landscape will forever be changed.

On the other side of the pandemic is a new business and technology reality that prioritises security, collaboration and business innovation. We’re already seeing some businesses embrace remote work and accelerate digital transformation efforts while keeping cybersecurity at the forefront of change. One study reports that while just under half of CFOs and Finance leaders intend to resume on-site work as soon as possible, 74% expect more of their workforce to be remote with a smaller permanent footprint at physical offices.

Moving forward, organisations that take a digital-first mindset and prepare now for the post-pandemic world will come out ahead. While economies are falling to historic lows, optimism is high that conditions will be better in a year. In response, teams are maximising performance to boost business through new business models and post-pandemic shifts.

As the CEO of KA2, this is something I’m currently talking about with business and technology leaders around the world. While the future of work will require custom, forward-looking transformation, there is some solace in that we’re all experiencing and planning for this shift in some way. Here, I outline four digital priorities to help your business successfully navigate and succeed in a post-pandemic world.

Accelerated Digital Transformation

On the theme of “we’re all in this together”, businesses large and small have all had to accelerate and embrace digital transformation in unprecedented ways. For many, this was the rapid implementation of digital tools for communication and collaboration. For others, it’s also about doubling down on digital offerings versus more traditional in-person services or product delivery. KPMG anticipates that by 2022, 80% of revenue growth will rely on digital offerings and operations.

One outcome of the current crisis is that the benefits of a cloud-first strategy have never been more clear. An article in the Guardian (with an apt title of “From Board Room to Spare Room”) reports that 5% of the UK’s workforce worked remotely before the pandemic. In the past month, millions more have joined them. If they weren’t before, companies and technology teams today are exploring SaaS and infrastructure-as-a-service technologies, and they’re doing so rapidly.

The financial industry, in particular, has benefited from digital innovation during the crisis. As social distancing measures have been put in place (and because there is no definitive “end” to these measures), consumer acceptance and use of digital banking has increased. Research suggests that the top beneficiaries of this will be large financial institutions that were already committed to digital transformation before the spread of the coronavirus. However, there is still time for other firms to catch up to remain competitive in a post-pandemic landscape.

Greater Focus on Security

The rapid transition to remote work has unsurfaced some serious security concerns for today’s organisations, from securing large-scale work-from-home arrangements to maintaining data security and compliance amongst remote workforces.

With the explosion of collaboration tools, for example, employees are sharing more information than ever before, in new ways. Technology teams must consider how they secure workforce communication over messaging and collaboration tools to avoid noncompliance or devastating data breaches. Even with proper configuration, these tools present new internal vectors of attack if employees practice bad data sharing habits. On top of this, nefarious actors are leveraging the current climate to launch sophisticated, coronavirus-themed attacks against businesses.

Security is now and should remain a primary concern for organisations. While we all want to focus on the post-pandemic future, organisations must put security and compliance front and centre as digital transformation continues to accelerate. Identify your greatest threats, put in place measures to protect your operations and your data, partner with third-party vendors for expert guidance and revisit security projects that may have been paused as a result of the pandemic.

A recent McKinsey article suggests a few additional actions you can take now to mitigate work-from-home risk, including:

  • Accelerate patching for critical systems (especially those that are essential for remote work, like VPNs, end-to-end protection and cloud interfaces)
  • Scale up multi-factor authentication (newly remote employees should still be required to use MFA to access critical applications)
  • Install compensating controls for facility-based tools that are now remote (for some businesses, this might mean activating MFA on assets that previously lacked them)
  • Account for shadow IT (even well-intentioned behaviours from staff can put systems and data in jeopardy)
  • Quicken device virtualisation (for cloud-based, virtual desktop solutions)

Remember, while security is paramount, your team will also expect flexible and easy-to-use tools. As you chart your path forward post-pandemic, keep this balance in mind to stay productive, protected and competitive. The same McKinsey report suggests that businesses communicate creatively, focus on what to do rather than what not to do, increase awareness of social engineering and identify and monitor high-risk user groups.

Secure Workplace Collaboration

As I mentioned above, the need to keep remote workers connected has seen many organisations turn to workplace collaboration tools, like Zoom and Microsoft Teams. The numbers are striking: Zoom claims 300 million daily meeting participants, Microsoft has 75 million daily active users on Teams, and Cisco saw nearly a quarter million sign-ups in one 24-hour period. But they’re not perfect. Slack, for example, has shared known security risks, and Zoom emerged from the pandemic with an unwanted reputation for privacy and security lapses such as encryption weaknesses and Zoombombing.

Moving forward, organisations will need to find secure, compliant ways to keep their workforces connected. Strategies may include: selecting tools that offer multiple levels of controls, establishing secure configurations, providing employees with resources and best practices on smart use of the platforms, creating an audit trail of user actions and conducting an overall assessment of your organisation’s data (where does it live, who has access or needs access, and what data archiving or privacy regulations must you adhere to).

To discover how your current or proposed workplace collaboration tools measure up in terms of security and compliance, download our Smarter Collaboration Security Matrix or take our short online questionnaire to have a KA2 security expert assess your chosen tool against your business needs in four key categories: governance, cybersecurity, compliance and legal compliance.

Prioritisation of Self-Service

Another outcome of global social distancing measures is the accelerated need for self-service platforms. It’s a trend across many sectors and industries; from online banking alternatives for customers to internal self-serve IT for employees. For the banking industry,  J.D. Power projects that less than half of consumers will return to “banking as usual” while the use of mobile banking will increase 20%.

While we’re all operating in uncertain times, now is an ideal time to consider how your organisation can boost your self-service options, both internally and externally, to deliver seamless service and products so that employees and customers can get what they need with less hands-on support. This could be more prominently promoting existing self-service offerings, or investing in process automation technologies or enterprise service management initiatives.

At KA2, we’re already helping organisations create cloud-first ITSM strategies to support digital transformation efforts. As an example, please see this case study from my team about how KA2 helped a globally recognised investment bank move to cloud-first, modern IT service management.

COVID-19 will forever disrupt the business landscape, and the new normal will require organisations to focus on security, innovation and accessibility. Technology leaders are in a position to lead this change, and we are here to help you. Please reach out to discuss strategies to navigate new digital priorities and strike the right balance between security, flexibility and compliance.

If you’re interested in learning more, please feel free to reach out to me at