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Addressing Australia’s security concerns and skills shortages

Angeline Maronese of Rackspace Technology explains how organisations can manage the dampening impact of security threats and skills shortages on digital transformation.

user iconAngeline Maronese
Tue, 20 Sep 2022
Addressing Australia’s security concerns and skills shortages
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Cloud technology has proved itself a critical business tool in recent years. In fact, majority of technology leaders state that cloud remains a crucial component of IT plans moving forward, helping enterprises improve customer experiences, ease of use, as well as agility to scale up and down based on demand.

Beyond these table stakes factors, many are seeing an evolution in discussion towards more sophisticated uses of cloud, such as containers and edge. What’s clear is that the future of cloud is serverless, with almost half of enterprises already using the technology and many more utilising it to automate workflows, scale internet of things (IoT) applications, and deploy virtual assistants.

It’s clear businesses are evolving to become cloud native. However, many have found the rollout of their digital transformation journey is at a standstill, inhibited by concerns around security and IT talent shortages. New security needs driven by cloud migration have been ranked the number one challenge by 44 per cent of technology leaders.

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With the cloud no longer considered a shiny new object, the pressure for enterprises to advance their innovation will need to start by changing ways of thinking and the workforce structure and how to manage their teams.

Turning away from fixed roles and moving to a more dynamic and liquid skills-based workforce is now imperative to have the flexibility needed to respond to the modern threat landscape.

Security remains the number one IT challenge

Security remains a top reported business concern impeding cloud optimisation, with 62 per cent of APAC business leaders citing cyber security attacks as the top business concern.

While fear a decade ago was undeniably warranted, the shift to modern architectures has also meant the effectiveness of cloud security technologies and strategy has evolved to meet these threats. Cloud-native security tools, including security automation, DevSecOps and cloud-native application protection, are the top forms of technology enterprises are investing in to protect from cyber attacks.

To take the first critical step, enterprises need to figure out the right cloud match for their sensitive data requiring maximum security. Consider a multitude of factors, including encryption, data redundancy and geo-replication and administrator controls. Each cloud platform performs best in different areas. Consider taking a multi-cloud approach to circumvent these issues by introducing additional cloud partners — strategies that allow increased flexibility.

The talent shortage puts the squeeze on businesses

As with many industries, the skills gap poses a critical challenge for the tech sector, with the fallout of the Great Resignation continuing to show no sign of lessening. The ABS’ quarterly labour force statistics from February 2022 revealed Australia’s national turnover rate (or “quit” rate) rose to 9.5 per cent in the past year.

It’s no surprise the IT talent shortage is the second most commonly reported business challenge. Almost half of Australian IT decision-makers have cited it as affecting their organisation, exacerbating leaders’ security challenges. In fact, behind escalating security threats, it’s the talent shortage of workers with cyber security skills that is ranked the top cyber security challenge for enterprises.

In the face of this, enterprises have been reinforcing their employee retention and approaches, offering remote work, promoting training and development opportunities and moderate increase in salaries. While these strategies look to address rising attrition and turnover, enterprises also need to change how they approach recruitment. The unpredictable nature of the modern digital landscape has necessitated flexibility and diversity in the skills of IT teams. Many IT teams struggle with being caught in an ongoing cycle of “reactive mode”, limiting the team’s ability to look ahead proactively.

Instead, enterprises need to be flexible with the exact skills they are after and move towards agile teams based on combinations of people rather than fixed hierarchies and structures. Only then that they can move towards effective and faster responsiveness to security challenges.

You’re not alone

The application of business processes or the adoption of new technologies like serverless computing and the edge are all actions that are central to business strategy. However, security challenges and a lack of talent continues to interrupt the rate at which digital innovation can be implemented.

Now more than ever, it is critical to understand your vulnerabilities and assemble the right solutions to strengthen and secure your environments. Using existing IT teams to decide and implement the right strategy to adopt these technologies can be risky and stressful, as the ongoing talent shortage continues to limit access to cloud and technical skills. Consider tapping into a pod of experts as a strategy to leverage expertise and resources to innovate safely and at pace. By utilising available resources, enterprises establish the groundwork required to empower teams as they strive to achieve business goals.

The benefits of cloud technology greatly outweigh the challenges enterprises will need to navigate in its adoption. The difference between those left behind and those at the forefront of innovation increasingly lies in whether you are cloud-native or not. Despite this, it’s critical enterprises transition safely by implementing a cyber security-first approach and leveraging the wealth of expertise and other available resources on offer.

Angeline Maronese is the managing director for ANZ, Rackspace Technology.

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