By Mark Fieldhouse, General Manager EMEA at NS1
Because of the challenges we are all facing currently, there is a pressing need for resilience. Resilience in the NHS, resilience in managing our everyday lives in difficult circumstances, resilience against the threat of Covid-19 itself, resilience in keeping businesses up and running, and resilience in accelerating quickly out of the lockdown as well, whenever that is.
Business leaders are accustomed to the need for resilience and understand that being agile and flexible is an important part of building resilience. Charles Darwin said ‘it is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is most adaptable to change.’ He was referring to the ability of animals to adapt in order to survive environmental changes, but his words are appropriate to people and businesses as well. A company may have an award-winning product, or a dynamic team, but it’s not a given that even with these assets they will be able to withstand challenges unless they are adaptable and resilient.
What this crisis, amongst many others, has demonstrated time and again is the creativity, flexibility, and determination of businesses and business leaders in the face of adversity.
Restaurants that had previously not even considered offering a take-away service are now surviving by adapting their kitchens and offering selected menus online for delivery in local areas. Many of us are watching the world-class theatrical productions being streamed by the National Theatre and voluntarily donating funds to show our support. Virgin Media has paid tribute to British resilience with a morale-boosting film which documents how people across Britain are keeping positive during the lockdown, from a care home in south Wales playing Hungry Hippos to a couple recreating their cancelled cruise holiday in their living room.
Many technology companies too are in the thick of delivering services to businesses during this period, particularly those involved in supporting the internet infrastructure that enables connectivity, communications, and content sharing. As widely reported in the media, there has been a surge in the use of Zoom and similar video conferencing apps and much speculation about whether the internet has the capacity to cope with the increase in demand.
For anyone working in this space, however, being resilient is in their DNA. The digital products and services that are being used as connecting points between organisations and customers, employers, and staff and families and friends have been developed with resiliency at their core. They are elastic and agile and this has become essential to survival during the lockdown so that businesses and people can keep connecting, informing, educating, learning, and moving forward.
There is a lot that we can learn from the lessons of recent weeks and that we should take into the future. It is clear that companies which had already embarked on digital transformation are reaping the benefits now with virtualised environments and solutions that are application-centric and data-driven. The tools that have become second-nature to them are providing them with automation, velocity and security and this is making them more resilient, allowing them to plough forward with their development plans without being inadvertently held up by the restrictions of the Covid-19 situation.
This will have an impact in years to come when we are assessing what worked, and what didn’t during this period. The role of virtual private networks, for example, will be looked at through a new lens. Not just as a means to provide seamless connectivity without compromising security for the 5-10 per cent of an average enterprise’s remote workforce, but as an essential tool for everyone, that is fully supported without putting undue stress on public and private networks.
The role of key people in organisations will also come under scrutiny. Many businesses will have considered how they would restructure or shift their executive team around if the CEO or other critical employees were to be taken ill, or incapacitated. This is something that our own government has had to face in the absence of the prime minister, and suggests that robust continuity plans need to be in place, including a process for involving important stakeholders in urgent decision making.
Perhaps most importantly we will learn the importance of empathy. There are many organisations that will not survive this crisis without help from others, and there are numerous examples in the technology sector of software being provided for free to assist companies. We are amongst this group because we recognise that small and medium sized businesses are being deeply impacted and if they can build a resilient infrastructure with internet traffic management and DNS solutions, this will help them.
The new normal post-Covid-19 may well see some significant changes in how we work, and the ability to operate virtually is likely to become standard practice. But what we should really strive for is a business culture that celebrates supportiveness and empathy and an objective to build resiliency into every fibre of corporate life.
Find out what being #builtresilient means to us.