COVID-19: IBM sees acceleration in governments going digital
IBM's recent keynote speech titled ‘Think Gov Digital’, saw Arvind Krishna, CEO of IBM discussing the impact of COVID-19 and how the pandemic has helped to accelerate government adoption of digital technologies around the world.
In his opening statement, Krishna highlights recent events that have affected governments including: COVID-19, lockdown, rise of unemployment and social unrest.
“Your swift response has been absolutely essential in keeping the economy running and guaranteeing peoples safety. But moments of crisis always carry lessons and if there is anything that the COVID-19 pandemic has taught us is the critical importance of technology solutions that enable: speed, flexibility, insight and innovation,” commented Krishna.
“Choosing rich technology platforms to power your organisation is one of the most consequential decisions you can make. Technology platforms determine how quickly you can pivot to new opportunities, how well you serve your citizens, how much you can scale, and today, how fast you can respond to a crisis.”
Krishna goes on to explain that looking at the technology landscape today, hybrid cloud and artificial intelligence (AI) are two of the most dominant forces that are driving digital transformation.
Talking to clients Krishna highlights four key reasons for adopting hybrid cloud solutions, which he calls ‘the four imperatives of hybrid cloud’: history, choice, physics and law.
Moving on to the second core technology AI, Krishna describes the technology as one of the biggest forces driving change in the industry. “The vast majority of you preserve AI as a strategic opportunity, almost all of you see AI as an opportunity to drive cost savings, but also how to give better service and to scale innovation and insight [...] More than 20 years ago, experts predicted that every organisation would become an Internet organisation. I'm predicting that every organisation will become an AI organisation – not because they can, but because they must,” stated Krishna. “AI is the only way to scale innovation, insight, and expertise."
IBM’s pandemic support
Towards the end of the keynote, Krishna explains that, “with this crisis, the importance of hybrid cloud and AI has not changed. What has changed is the pace at which they are being adopted. I’ve said this before and it remains true, transformation journeys that were going to last a few years are now being compacted into the space of a few weeks or months, organisations are questioning and transforming their operating model. They are thinking about how to use technology to reassess and reimagine mode of consumption, supply, interaction and productivity, they are looking for long lasting answers on what they can do with technology to address the key issues that COVID-19 has brought to light.”
To support this transformation, Krishna reaffirms the company’s commitments to:
- Continue to deepen the company’s understanding of its clients needs
- Help clients identify opportunities to transform how they deliver value
- Continue to be a leader in good tech and deploy trusted technology
- Foster an entrepreneurial culture to move with greater speed and focus
- Continue to be an important player - not a spectator
With this in mind Krishna details its recent effects to support organisations amidst the current pandemic crisis, which includes:
- Over US$200mn in global donations made in money and technology
- The establishment of the ‘COVID-18 High Performance Computing Consortium’ which the White House, U.S. Department of Energy and many other companies, labs and research institutes are a part of to accelerate scientific efforts for the pandemic
- Making over 80,000 IBM patents free for COVID-19 researchers
“There is no question that this pandemic is a powerful force of disruption and an unprecedented tragedy. But it is also a critical turning point. It’s an opportunity to develop new solutions, new ways of working, and new partnerships that will benefit your organisation and the people you serve—not just today, but for years to come,” commented Krishna. “We will emerge from these challenging times stronger.”
Check Point: Securing the future of enterprise IT
Cybersecurity solutions provider Check Point was founded in 1993 with a mission to secure ‘everything,’ and that includes the cloud. Conscious that nothing remains static in the digital world, the company prides itself on an ability to integrate new technology with its solutions. Across almost three decades in operation, Check Point, with its team of over 3,500 experts, has become adept at protecting networks, endpoints, mobile, IoT, and cloud.
“The pandemic has been somewhat of an accelerator in the evolution of cyber risk,” explains Erez Yarkoni, Global VP for Cloud Business. “We had remote workers and cloud adoption a long time beforehand, but now the volume and surface area is far greater.” Formerly a CIO for several big-name telcos before joining Check Point in 2019, Yarkoni considers the cloud to be “part of [his] heritage” and one of modern IT’s most valuable tools.
Check Point has three important ‘product families’, Quantum, CloudGuard, and Harmony, with each one providing another layer of holistic IT protection:
- Quantum: secures enterprise networks from sophisticated cyber attacks
- CloudGuard: acts as a scalable and unified cloud-native security platform for the protection of any cloud
- Harmony: protects remote users and devices from cyber threats that might compromise organisational data
However, more than just providing security, Yarkoni emphasises the need for software to be proactive and minimise the possibility of threats in the first instance. This is something Check Point assuredly delivers, “the industry recognises that preventing, not just detecting, is crucial. Check Point has one platform that gives customers the end-to-end cover they need; they don't have to go anywhere else. That level of threat prevention capability is core to our DNA and across all three product lines.”
In many ways, Check Point’s solutions’ capabilities have actually converged to meet the exact working requirements of contemporary enterprise IT. As more companies embark on their own digital transformation journeys in the wake of COVID-19, the inevitability of unforeseen threats increases, which also makes forming security-based partnerships essential. Healthcare of Ontario Pension Plan (HOOPP) sought out Check Point for this very reason when it was in the process of selecting Microsoft Azure as its cloud provider. “Let's be clear: Azure is a secure cloud, but when you operate in a cloud you need several layers of security and governance to prevent mistakes from becoming risks,” Yarkoni clarifies.
The partnership is a distinctly three-way split, with each bringing its own core expertise and competencies. More than that, Check Point, HOOPP and Microsoft are all invested in deepening their understanding of each other at an engineering and developmental level. “Both of our organisations (Check Point and Microsoft) are customer-obsessed: we look at the problem from the eyes of the customer and ask, ‘Are we creating value?’” That kind of focus is proving to be invaluable in the digital era, when the challenges and threats of tomorrow remain unpredictable. In this climate, only the best protected will survive and Check Point is standing by, ready to help.
“HOOPP is an amazing organisation,” concludes Yarkoni. “For us to be successful with a customer and be selected as a partner is actually a badge of honor. It says, ‘We passed a very intense and in-depth inspection by very smart people,’ and for me that’s the best thing about working with organisations like HOOPP.”