With the advent of what is going on today with the COVID 19, many employees are still scrambling with the issues about working from home (aka WFH). For example, many of them are having problems with Internet connectivity just because so many people are now online, the proverbial “Zoombombing”, being constantly bombarded with Phishing Emails, etc. The list simply never ends. They are trying to manage their daily workflows, so that they can still be productive, without fears of being terminated.
But it is not just employees that are facing this horrible fire. Even the upper levels of management, and even the C-Suite themselves (at one point in time, this group was even considered to be interminable, but how the times have changed!!!).
Every member in this exclusive club is now scrambling in the best ways possible so that their companies will remain solvent as much as possible during the time of this crisis.
For instance, the CEO is trying to figure all of this out, while the CFO is figuring out the best ways in which to conserve the crucial cash flow. But it is probably right now the CIO and/or the CISO that is really under the gun to make best of the times right now.
So, with all of this, time management for everybody is at a critical juncture. In other words, how can the most be accomplished, in a limited time period, with extremely limited resources except your Smartphone and laptop?
Well, here are some tips for both the CIO and the CISO:
*Determine how much time you can give to each need and project:
Before the COVID 19 hit, you probably had a plethora of new projects that you had in the pipeline and were all excited about getting them done on time just before this crisis hit. Well, guess what, priorities have drastically changed now. Those projects are now probably back burnered now, waiting for things to open back up again, and once cash flow starts to improve. But you know what, that is really nothing to worry about right now. Those projects will always be there, and you can get to them once everybody is back into the office. Now, your main focus should be getting on making sure first and foremost that your remote employees now have all of the tools that they need to try to be as productive as possible. This means also that you are securing all network lines of communications as possible, as well as making sure with both the IT Department and the IT Security staff that report under to confirm and to be proactive that all possible security mechanism are in place to protect your enterprise from being hit by the drastic spike that we are seeing now with the COVID 19, especially when it comes to Phishing Emails and spoofed websites.
*Keep watching your spending on a daily basis:
As mentioned, with the times right now, cash flow and money are literally your lifeblood right now, as if they were not before. But now, any hiccups could literally mean life or death for your business. True, in the past, you probably had some reserve that your company had on hand, but more than likely, this has probably been evaporated by now. Thus, you need to work very closely with your CFO counterpart to make sure that every cent is being spent wisely. This simply means that you need to be spending as little as possible on those absolute critical needs. Some items that can be included here are spending money on network security, making payroll, and still trying to reach out to prospects in the most cost-effective manner. Yes, the day will come when the COVID 19 will dissipate from the headlines, so as I have written in previous blogs, this is now planting season. The time will be there for an extraordinarily rich harvest, assuming that you have stayed the course and not given up. But the bottom line is to watch cash spend on a daily basis. If your business is small enough, you could probably use something simple as an Excel spreadsheet, or even QuickBooks. But if you are something like a Fortune 500 company, then you need be working closely with your accounting team.
*Are human resources being effectively used?
With everybody mostly WFH, it is hard to manage your teams effectively, other than talking on the phone or using Zoom, or some other web conferencing tool. For the CIO and/or CISO, this simply means that you need to be in almost constant touch with both the IT and the IT Security teams. But keep in mind, your employees are also being stretched to the breaking point with trying to fight off the Cyber threats and trying keep the other employees safe. So, what can be done? Obviously, hiring for new staff is probably out of the question, so maybe you should consider making use of what is known as a “vCISO”. This is basically an outsourced CIO, but the good news here is that they are pretty much affordable, and work on a fixed basis, depending upon the contract length. But another side benefit to this is that they will have other well experienced contacts that you can use for staff augmentation purposes.
*Keeping up with the future Cyber threat landscape:
As a CIO and/or CISO, not only is your job burdened the daily tasks (this is only further exacerbated now), but it also your job to try to predict what the future threat landscape looks like as well. Obviously, this has become a lot more complicated now, given just how the COVID 19 crisis has made this even far worse. But for right now (and this is IMHO, by the way), you need just need to take things one day at a time and focus on just what is on the present. Right now, there is no way you do such monumental tasks all at the very same time. It is just humanly impossible. But keep in mind also, there are tools out there, that can help you to predict what the future Cyber threat landscape will look like. This is in the form of Artificial Intelligence (AI), and there quite a few AI vendors who can offer you such tools at an affordable price, because many of them are now hosted, either on the AWS or Azure.
*Are the best approaches being used?
This is always a question that pervades the minds the minds of both CIOs and CISOs alike, even before the COVID 19 even started. But now, this question has taken on even greater importance, given the need to really watch cash flow. In this regard, it is especially important to keep in mind that there are very affordable solutions that are out there, but not a lot of businesses have even tried them out. What I mean by this is using the Cloud, primarily that of the AWS and Azure. With these platforms, you can create all kinds of low cost or even free resources under the sun. For example, you can create virtual desktops and virtual servers that will be just as good and even better than your On-Premises technology equipment. Best of all, they can access from anywhere in the world, and any point in time, in a very safe and secure manner. Heck, you can even get a free trial of the AWS for one year, and for Azure, you can get like two months free even with a $200 credit. You have nothing but to gain by using them. Plus, both of these platforms have tons of documentation on them on how to do all of this, and there are plenty of You Tube videos as well that will walk you through the entire process.
My Thoughts On This
Well, there you have it. Some tips for the CIO/CISO to help manage their time and resources better. It is also too important to keep in mind many Cybersecurity vendors are now even offering free, Cyber related services, especially WFH packages that you can make use of. If you have any questions or need any help on this or any other Cyber aspect, please reach out to me on the Cybersecurity forum at: