WashingtonExec has reached out to leading GovCon cloud executives about the latest trends in a post-pandemic world. These interviews highlight success stories that resonate, discuss how organizations are navigating current challenges and provide insight into lessons learned.
Beau Hutto, vice president of federal at Netskope, shares his thoughts below.
What were some of this year’s biggest digital transformation challenges, and how did you overcome them?
Addressing the ever-growing need for a true hybrid workforce remained a critical challenge throughout 2022, not only for our customers but for our employees as well. A well-implemented hybrid work model is now known to increase productivity and lower costs, while simultaneously improving employee recruitment and retention.
A successful hybrid work approach ensures employees have the ability to work from anywhere on any device with the flexibility to swiftly and securely transition from home to the office. Where all of this starts is with secure digital transformation. Security remains one of the greatest obstacles to almost any network, cloud or data transformation project.
Did the pandemic accelerate digital transformation efforts? What were some of you/your team’s lessons learned as you addressed these challenges?
Over the span of just a few years, our customers across all government agencies and corporate enterprises have lived through some of the biggest challenges and subsequent disruptions that have since completely changed the way we conduct everyday business. This unanticipated need to adapt has thrust industry forward at warp speed, bringing about technological advances and innovative solutions that were mostly hypothetical a few years ago.
As such a fast-paced rate, prioritizing the mental health of the workforce will be critical going forward into 2023 and beyond, or there is considerable risk of mass burnout.
What are some of the biggest digital transformation trends you are anticipating for the remainder of this year, and into 2023?
We foresee several trending areas in and around digital transformation on the horizon, including:
The Rise of Confidential Computing: Confidential computing is a rising industry initiative around securing sensitive data and applications, running them in secure environments to prevent unauthorized access. While the technology is still in its early stages, I anticipate that we will see confidential computing gain significant momentum as organizations reevaluate their technology and security stack, with confidential computing evolving to become a key investment focus in most security/technology budgets in 2023 and into 2024.
Challenges of Office Reopenings Call for a Back-to-Basics Approach to Security. Over the past year, office reopenings, along with a steep uptick in job resignations amid “The Great Resignation” drove a surge in malware attacks ⏤ both intentional as well as accidental data leaks due to employees changing jobs or mixing up personal and business application use and engagement.
As offices reopen, and in many ways office culture begins anew, I think that security needs to be foundational in everything from the beginning. Permanent security awareness needs to build into the DNA of an organization. Complexity is the enemy of security ⏤ seeking simplicity should be a top focus for security leaders across both industry and federal agencies.
Economic Uncertainty Will Lead a Shift to an “As-a-Service” Model. In 2023, we anticipate seeing more government agencies evaluate their buying process and invest in new operating models. A lot of that focus will be around evaluating buying the outcome as opposed to the traditional build model, leading more agencies who have been slow to evolve to begin embracing the cloud operating model, moving infrastructure and services into “as-a-service.” New regulations, executive orders and directives involving cybersecurity will drive increased security presence across enterprise and agency.
Whether in response to the Department of Defense’s long-anticipated Zero Trust Strategy, or to new SEC rules around reporting and disclosing cybersecurity incidents, more government agencies and enterprise organizations will be driven to hire security expertise to serve among senior leadership, in their C-suite and on their boards. What will result are more questions around security, but now with a much more in-depth level of precision and awareness.
Adapting to a Shifting Workforce: While we continue to see a reduction in labor in private industry, with mass layoffs specifically impacting Big Tech across Silicon Valley, their loss has the potential to be a huge gain to the public sector. Federal agencies would be wise to seize the opportunity to capture top talent, newly available to fill the skills gap across the tech workforce.
Are you/your team spearheading any major digital transformation initiatives at the moment? If so, can you explain?
Our security-leading cloud platform, Netskope Security Cloud, addresses the biggest challenges and risks driving the future of cloud transformation. NSC provides a platform for the convergence of modern security solutions and the ability to protect data and users regardless of location.
NSC can securely connect government users to external applications, including SaaS applications and internet destinations, regardless of device, location or network, providing modern cyber and data protection for mission-critical government information.
How do you hope current or ongoing digital transformation initiatives positively impact the organization and its customers?
Netskope is dedicated to protecting customer data along with our ongoing compliance with industry global information security and privacy standards. We are committed to ensuring our NSC platform is the most complete and performant cloud-based security stack possible.
NSC will provide modern data protection controls for our federal government partners and customers, in dedicated service to their mission, all from a single platform that delivers an elegant way to evolve from on-premises, siloed, legacy technology to a fully integrated cloud-based solution.