Every crisis is an opportunity, including a pandemic. While we are seeing many positive adaptations to our ways of working – plus a number of negative ones – one area of opportunity has been seized with dramatic effect: cyber attacks.
This is presenting criminals with major opportunities for financial gain. It is creating major headaches not just for IT departments, but for executive teams and boards of directors. How to defend? How to act when an attack has been successful and the CEO has received a ransom demand?
IT teams have had their work cut out in the pandemic, equipping staff to work from home. It’s not surprising that criminals have found distracted IT departments easier than usual prey. Staff working from home are also distracted, and prone to be caught out by ever more plausible emails.
At the Centre for Management Consulting Excellence, we were delighted to host an online showcase seminar on Cybersecurity in July, looking at how management consultants who are not technical gurus can advise senior leaders – themselves unlikely to be cyber experts - on appropriate cyber security strategies, taking quite a technical topic and making it accessible to senior decision makers. You can read more about the discussion in this month's piece focusing on our July Showcase.
Another area of pressure coming from the pandemic has been on business schools. As visiting lecturer in Consulting at Cass Business School in London, I had the challenge of converting my lecture material into video presentations, for an audience of students who had returned to their homes across the world and were questioning the return on investment from their course fees.
We had sourced multiple consulting projects, where both students and clients were anticipating face-to-face engagement. There was real concern about the likely quality of collaboration and engagement in a totally online environment, with student teams working across multiple time zones and unable to visit client premises.
The fears proved unfounded. Over sixty students, across eleven projects, produced a quality of work in the online environment which was as good – and in some cases better - than what would be expected in a physical environment. They followed the timeless principles of good project and stakeholder management, and devised new ways of working to suit the online world.
Let’s celebrate the adaptability of the consulting profession, as we help clients navigate the challenges and opportunities of the new normal.