Interview: Budd Ilic, Zscaler
In our annual Leaders in Technology series, we ask the experts what the year ahead holds. Today we talk security and cloud with Zscaler’s Budd Ilic.
How have Australian workplaces coped with COVID? Will things go back to normal?
I believe Australia has coped reasonably well with the COVID-19 pandemic and its fallout. Many organisations initially had to scramble to get people into work-from-home mode and so a lot of the IT solutions put in place were by necessity temporary. Many are now assessing what might be the best solution for the future, and this includes finding the most effective way to connect remote users with both centralised and cloud-based resources. This is important because the new ‘COVID normal’ will require much greater flexibility.
Which new technologies will reach critical mass in 2021?
I strongly believe that zero-trust network access will increasingly replace VPNs as the preferred remote access technology within many organisations. By 2021, it will have achieved a critical mass in the Australian marketplace.
What more can governments do to counter cyber attacks?
This is a very hot topic at the moment. Most federal and state governments have a cloud-first mandate and are following this to achieve performance improvements and cost reductions. However, they are also facing increasing numbers of cyber attacks against their critical systems. Rather than departments and agencies trying to create and manage their own IT security infrastructure, they should leverage best-of-breed, cloud-based security platforms that will remove complexity and ensure effective protection.
How will IT improve operational efficiency in 2021, and who should lead the charge?
The current trend towards cloud platforms and SaaS-based offerings should be continued as it can give a positive boost to organisational efficiency. Managing on-premise IT infrastructure is not the core business of most organisations and so shifting to trusted cloud platforms can have a significant impact. This will help not only in the delivery of new and better services to clients but also reduce the overheads associated with IT infrastructure management.
How can IT be more environmentally friendly, socially responsible and privacy conscious?
Shifting IT infrastructures out of corporate data centres and into highly scalable and very efficient cloud platforms can reduce power consumption and therefore greenhouse gas emissions. This is both environmentally friendly and socially responsible. When it comes to privacy, many SaaS-based platforms have been built from the ground up with privacy and security in mind. For this reason, storing critical data within them rather than in potentially less secure servers in offices and other locations is a positive move.
What’s on your wish list from government, industry and innovators?
My main wish is for better co-operation and communication. Many organisations move slowly and are set in their ways when it comes to their use of technology. They will achieve much more if they open communication channels to others and seek to understand what they are achieving through more innovative IT deployments. Learning from others who are already seeing significant benefits will be a great way to progress through the new year, and this sharing of knowledge and experience needs to happen more regularly between governments, innovators and the wider industry. Let’s aim to make this sharing a reality in 2021.
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