Paramount Software Solutions Inc

Top 3 Challenges for IT in the New Normal

As enterprises transition from the challenging year that has passed to the slow return to normalcy in 2021, many aspects of business have morphed forever, including the way enterprises and their employees work, manage processes and supply chains.

Over the past year, businesses have been forced to change their operating models during the course of which they have realized that models that were dismissed as ineffectual in the past, can work better than existing ones. These new models include long-term work from home, limited in-office staffing, virtual collaboration and shifting of enterprise workloads entirely to the cloud.

Enterprises are now viewing in a new light and more as permanent solutions enabling reduced costs and increased productivity. What then is the fate of the overworked IT department and its leaders, who need to make the quick-fix changes they made to enable remote working permanent? Here’s our list of key challenges that IT leaders face today – and our take on how best to address them.

Challenge 1: Focus on cloud and hybrid to reduce costs while managing migration of legacy applications

As employees moved to working remotely 24×7, they needed access to enterprise applications remotely at all times. The moving of entire enterprise architectures to the cloud was therefore one of the key requirements that emerged in 2020. Some organizations were forced to deal with this in novel ways, such as having employees come in on a staggered schedule to enable access to critical applications (such as in the BFSI industry) – but eventually, it fell to IT leadership to enable access.

Cloud and hybrid computing had already emerged as the next big shift in computing before the pandemic. 2020 accelerated the move to the cloud, and 2021 is set to continue that trend, albeit in a more planned manner. Gartner expects CIOs to “gravitate toward spending on subscription products and cloud services to lower upfront costs”. Gartner forecasts a 27.6% increase in spending on IaaS to $64.3 billion in 2021.

IT leaders will now need to face the challenge of migrating all enterprise applications to the cloud. Legacy enterprise applications do not lend themselves well to such migration, necessitating a lift-and-shift operation to move them. To be able to realize the performance benefit of the cloud, IT organizations will need to invest significantly in redevelopment/refactoring costs for such applications, necessitating heavy one-time expenses that will need to be justified to management. Lift-and-shift provides a quick-fix migration strategy, at the cost of efficiency and performance. IT leaders need to decide what strategy is ideal for them.

Challenge 2: Facilitating a secure future workplace that uses new technologies with ageing IT infrastructure, need for upgraded cybersecurity and trimmed budgets

This past year, while several firms affected layoffs or trimmed budgets significantly, one area kept their budgets – IT. Two factors drove this change –

  1. The need to implement new technology for driving efficiencies, making the best use of existing ageing infrastructure and integrating it with the cloud.
  2. Securing enterprises against a series of cyberattacks with increasing count, scale and sophistication

Cyberattacks in 2020 entered a new generation – the World Economic Forum dubbed them the “5th Generation”. Checkpoint’s survey in 2020 revealed that 71% of security professionals reported an increase in cyberattacks, and the last year also saw one of the biggest cyberattacks ever to be seen – the SolarWinds attack, or Solarigate. This last attack hit over 18,000 organizations, including multiple US government agencies, and also instigated a U.S. Senate hearing. IT leaders face an unprecedented challenge to defend their organizations against this onslaught.

At the same time, IT leaders are also pressurized to affect operational efficiencies with fewer staff, choose and implement new technology and also find ways to best utilize existing ageing infrastructure. Pre-COVID, adoption of new technologies such as AI, hyper converged infrastructure, edge computing and serverless computing was expected to grow, especially in large enterprises. Post the pandemic, however, 57% of organisations said they were leaving their IT operational budgets unchanged while 30% were cutting spending and 13% were increasing their budgets.

IT leaders need to find way to repurpose ageing infrastructure. Virtualization can be a lifesaver here, with its ability to revitalize old infrastructure to effectively run new software while making the best use of its power.

  • Organizations can convert server farms to virtualized private clouds with mature private cloud solutions such as OpenStack.
  • New technology, such as blockchain, can help enable secure supply chain and verification processes.
  • A new breed of ML (machine learning) driven software promises to reduce the need for mundane task processing by humans, freeing up manpower hours for more complex projects.

Planning for these shifts will prove to be a strong challenge, however. The balance of budgets against these requirements will prove to be unique for each organization, and IT leadership must prioritize and strategize before allocating budgets.

And then there is the challenge of securing this infrastructure. A few years ago, the challenge with cloud adoption was security – the coin has now been turned on its head, with organizations moving in droves to the cloud to piggyback on the promise of improved security, capabilities and performance. Enterprises trust the big public cloud providers to keep their infrastructure secure, but quite a few don’t realise that security on the cloud, like with on-premise infrastructure, is a shared responsibility. If your users use insecure passwords, the most secure infrastructure cannot protect you from attack! Investments in solutions that look beyond the obvious threats, such as next-gen SIEM solutions or XDR, are essential for being able to see threats that were traditionally not categorized as threats (such as insiders who look to exfiltrate proprietary information). Attack mapping models such as MITRE ATT&CK are critical for helping organizations secure their infrastructure, and IT leaders need to stay abreast of the latest developments in cybersecurity to keep their enterprise safe.

Challenge 3: Upskilling the workforce to prepare them for remote work and new tech

Enabling remote work will be another top priority for enterprise IT leaders. Many organizations were forced to put immense demands on their IT organizations to quickly enable remote work capabilities, with organizations being forced to put together makeshift solutions as a consequence. In 2021, however, enterprises are looking at things very differently. The past year has shown organizations that remote work can be both productive and morale boosting, with employees enjoying more time with family and friends while still delivering high productivity rates. IT will now need to find more permanent solutions for remote work. Already, remote work technology firms end free or discounted offerings driven by the pandemic and return to business-as-usual pricing. IT organizations are realizing that hastily-implemented remote work solutions have security loopholes that can expose infrastructure to attack. These have created a set of sub challenges –

  1. Securing current remote work arrangements and make it possible for remote workers to better secure their home working environments
  2. Facilitate a mix of in-office and remote work collaboration
  3. Educate employees on best and secure use of remote work arrangements
  4. Develop systems for helping employees avoid remote work burnout, better collaborate with other employees to eliminate feelings of isolation and loneliness, and facilitate means for employees to maintain a healthy work-life balance even at home (such as with time-table applications)

IT leaders will need to address all these sub challenges to ensure a productive, happy workforce while keeping enterprise costs down.


2021 promises to be a year of many things – a new start, new systems for work, new opportunities (such as for firms developing remote technology and cybersecurity products, for instance) and for employees to find a renewed meaning for work-life balance. IT leaders need to be at the forefront of these changes, addressing key challenges effectively. For help identifying the unique framework of challenges for your organization and how best to use technology (cloud, blockchain, AI/ML), planned staffing and IT capabilities to implement solutions for them, reach out to us at [email protected] or browse our portfolio of offerings at

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Top 3 Challenges for IT in the New Normal

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