Pandemic Increases Need for Collaboration, Security Apps and Tools

The pandemic has been a "wake-up call" for companies and accelerated digital transformation.

Edward Gately, Senior News Editor

July 28, 2020

3 Min Read
Smartphone at coffee shop
We’ve been hearing about the critical nature of a mobile-first strategy for years, but today, that term means something a little different. It isn’t just that customers have to be able to interact with businesses in a responsive, easy-to-navigate mobile environment. The mobile-first approach has to be applied internally as well, as employees continue to move work processes to mobile devices, prompting a need for all kinds of security, collaboration, and productivity-software solutions. And because organizations are increasingly allowing employees to leverage their own mobile devices for work purposes, these implications are compounded even further. Nikolai Vargas, CTO and vice president of client services for Switchfast Technologies, says this is changing the conversation with clients from one about mobile device management to one about mobile-data management. “Employees are encouraged to stay connected to these corporate resources at all time to service the business and to use them to share information, but the business is no longer issuing company phones,” he says. “Having a BYOD environment (even when isolated to phones) opens the business up to privacy concerns if they attempt to implement a full MDM solution on hardware they don’t own.”Shutterstock

Collaboration and security apps and tools are in high demand as organizations continue to grapple with the COVID-19 pandemic.

That’s according to a survey of 55 Okta strategic partners. That includes solution providers, global systems integrators (GSIs), MSPs and public sector organizations.

In April, Okta unveiled major updates and additions to its Partner Connect program to help partners run full sales cycles and solve complex customer challenges. Okta sells identity and access management services.

Patrick McCue is the company’s senior vice president of worldwide partners.


Okta’s Patrick McCue

“The findings are less surprising and more so a confirmation that our partners are placing security and collaboration at the top of the priority list. And they’re well equipped to meet this demand, which is what customers need during this time. The findings may be obvious, but it’s good to know that we’re all on the same page in terms of staying connected and secure.”

Escalating Demand

Some 54% of solution-provider partners saw a significant increase in demand for collaboration apps and tools since January. And 47% report more demand for security apps and tools. Network security tools such as VPNs that extend secure access to remote workers are in high demand.

Other key findings include:

  • GSIs saw the greatest demand for multifactor authentication (MFA) within finance/banking. Two in three (67%) indicated increased security demand.

  • Since January, every public sector partner saw increased demand for both collaboration apps and tools in education. Demand also increased among federal, state and local government.

  • What are the most in-demand collaboration tools within education, and state and local government? All public sector partners and MSPS said video conferencing is in demand the most — even over VoIP and chat tools.

Attackers are trying to take advantage of the chaos around the pandemic. They’re doing so by launching a flood of phishing and identity attacks. With the traditional perimeter gone, companies need to protect their workers and customers, and security is more important than ever, according to Okta‘s partners.

‘Wake-Up Call’ for Companies

The pandemic has been a “wake-up call” for companies and accelerated digital transformation for many, McCue said.

“We don’t know when this pandemic will subside, so it’s crucial that we think for the moment and plan for the future,” he said. “A transition from on-prem to the cloud and adoption of best-of-breed tools will help companies to manage current demands and ensure they’re well-equipped for the future as well.”

When this started, everyone needed to act quickly to address and solve real-time issues of remote work, McCue said.

“However, as things continue, we now know that the dynamics of work are going to change forever,” he said. “We need to consider cloud or hybrid infrastructures to redevelop the workplace in order to meet the needs of in-office employees and remote workers. We are also adapting the ways we allocate market development funds to partners, by shifting from in-person events to more digital strategies. With so much unknown, staying flexible and thoughtful will help our partners maintain a competitive advantage.”

About the Author(s)

Edward Gately

Senior News Editor, Channel Futures

As news editor, Edward Gately covers cybersecurity, new channel programs and program changes, M&A and other IT channel trends. Prior to Informa, he spent 26 years as a newspaper journalist in Texas, Louisiana and Arizona.

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