Private businesses have a profit motive, they are more apt to change and are therefore adopting the browser, mobile device and cloud-based applications at a rapid pace. Government entities, on the other hand, have been much slower to adopt and are often paying severe prices.
Consider two (2) of the most recent high-profile public organizations who have experienced some dire consequences of not letting go of the way things have always been done.
First, there was the New York Police Department in August 2017. The New York PD was looking for a way to let their officers access their Windows-based applications in the field. Despite the fact that Windows had no real presence in the mobile device world (less than 1%), the IT department advised the City to spend $160 million on Windows phones rather than investing the money in a cloud-based solution that leveraged Android (80% market share) or iPhone (18% market share). They quickly learned that the Windows phones could not do what they needed them to do and spent several more million on a similar number of iPhones.
Next consider the City of Atlanta, Georgia on March 27, 2018. News breaks that many of the City services are down and the City’s website has been defaced. A victim of an apparent Ransomware attack, many of the City operations were paralyzed. Residents couldn’t pay their bills, Police Officers had to write tickets by hand and the Municipal Court could not access their records. More than six days later, the City still has not fully recovered and are staring at possibly having to pay $51,000 in ransom which may or may not fix the problem in the short term. Although it is not yet fully known exactly how the malware was activated and spread, it is highly likely that a Window’s underlying network was a root cause as infected files can easily propagate across a network through email servers (Exchange) and document servers.
In both of these cases, embracing the new way of working (mobile device and browser) would have surely mitigated and possibly prevented the terrible consequences that each respective entity walked into.
The New York Police Department, for example, could have prepared for the inevitable need for mobile devices in the field by finding a more cost-effective cloud-based solution for their internal operations. This could mean a cloud-based application, but more likely would be more along the lines of a virtual network and the deployment of Android phones. By going virtual, they would securely be able to access their data from virtually anywhere and from any device and by deploying Android as opposed to Windows or iPhone, they would get more for their money plus be able to more easily control their devices as both Windows Phones and iPhones are much more complicated to manage.
Likewise, the City of Atlanta should have been focused on moving their operations to the cloud. For the past several years, most of the start-ups in the country and many of the largest organizations in the country have been moving the email to platforms like G Suite and using SaaS-based applications in lieu of on-premise ones. If they had been aggressive, they might have been able to already have their email and documents in the cloud and could be in a position to be replacing their Windows machines (which are highly susceptible to malware) with Chrome devices (which are relatively immune from serious malware), sprinkled in with a few virtual Windows desktops.
Those that choose to ride the wave of change will be in a position to take their operations to new levels and be much better guarded and prepared from disasters and malware. Those that don’t will have the wave of change roll over them and be left to pick up the pieces.