IT and cybersecurity operations have traditionally been siloed within businesses, often due to management decisions to break down overarching goals and assign smaller actions to different parts of the company. While it is a sensible decision to specialise, this approach can lead to a lack of data sharing within an organisation. A siloed approach to IT operations throughout the channel can negatively affect decision-making, efficiency and security in the long term as insular departments don’t have a complete understanding of what others are undertaking and can lead to duplicated actions. A successful organisation is one that is conscious that, in some cases, teams working on different aspects of IT infrastructure will be more successful when utilising open and effective channels of communication.
The Importance of Unified IT
Companies striving towards a communicative structure need to turn towards Unified IT to foster a collaborative environment. This approach enables IT professionals to get the most insight out of their data and systems by breaking down the barriers that have traditionally separated them. A convergence and collaborative culture between IT teams will enable them to better use their time and resources through knowledge sharing and a pooling of resources and budgets. In the current climate of frequent high-profile data breaches, focus has shifted in favour of cybersecurity over other IT departments, which may see smaller budgets. The problem that arises is that many IT teams consequently take a reactive approach to technological issues, dealing with them as and when they arise instead of working proactively before they appear. This can lead to long term problems and, in the worst-case scenario, could cause an IT outage if companies get stuck with legacy technology that is expensive to maintain and costly to update.
A siloed business structure can result in teams using operating systems and technology from different vendors that are incompatible with those of other parts of the business, further preventing collaboration. This creates a knock-on effect for company decision makers because the reports they receive will be based on data that is disconnected and hard to work with. Unified reporting would make it far easier for CIOs and CISOs to make well-informed and effective decisions that support the work of the entire organisation and ensure that customer satisfaction is being met. Along with the benefits that come to the end user of having a solution that keeps up with the rapidly evolving landscape of enterprise IT and cybersecurity, a significant business case can be made for all aspects of the channel. Vendors, distributors and resellers alike will all see the benefit of Unified IT, as administrators make wholesale changes to their infrastructure, as opposed to the small incremental changes that have traditionally been par for the course.
Unified IT Means Unified Cybersecurity
As well as proactive working and well-informed decision making, a unified approach to IT can result in cybersecurity advantages. IT and security operations are beginning to work more collaboratively as technological innovations develop and cybercrime continues to evolve. It is likely that an IT worker will be the first to spot a breach, as the first port of call for any computer problems within a business. Therefore, it makes sense for them to work alongside the security department and combine their expertise to rectify the problem.
Unified IT will also bring security and IT teams together to defend against cyberattacks before one takes hold. Legacy systems are one of the primary enablers of cyberattacks, take the WannaCry attack of 2017 which took advantage of the unsupported Windows XP and unpatched Windows 10 operating systems of the NHS for example. Collaboration could have minimised this issue because, while patching is a security concern, digital transformation and the updating of legacy technology is the responsibility of IT. If these teams had communicated and worked together to monitor for possible cyber entry points, the effects could have been minimised.
Looking to The Future
It is often hard enough to account for the actions of your own team, let alone one that you aren’t part of. The answer here is to utilise technological advancements, such as AI, that are now available to improve and automate communications and make a unified environment easier to achieve. Working towards a unified approach to IT is a worthwhile cause as it can reduce the likelihood of different departments relying on incompatible systems, reducing the siloes that are often found in IT, as well as saving resources by ensuring actions aren’t duplicated between teams and ultimately leading to more informed decision making.
As time progresses, the siloed nature of IT we are used to will become harder to maintain as companies migrate to the cloud and employees become more flexible and mobile. Collaboration, between companies within the channel and teams, is now a necessary part of business operations. Unified IT is a step in the right direction to encourage collaboration between IT and security operations. This will ensure that businesses are able to utilise valuable resources and will allow managers to make the most appropriate decisions given the actions of the business as a whole.