Since the onset of the pandemic, technology and digital innovation has enabled us to maintain a semblance of business and life-as-usual. Technology has underpinned the continuity of economic and social activity during the crisis, and this digital enablement is here to stay even as countries begin to emerge out of the pandemic. However, the current reliance on technology has raised the stakes around digital readiness and exacerbating the digital divide for those without the skills, access, or infrastructure to fully realize the benefits of technological transformation.

Amid economic fallout and a change in how businesses operate, governments are grappling with several trends that could widen the divide between citizens. As the digital revolution continues to accelerate, here are three ways governments can leverage technology to power an inclusive future for all.

Creating connections

One of the most prominent changes in 2020 was a remarkable change in the way we work as a huge segment of the population transitioned to remote working. Unfortunately, periods of disruption present the greatest opportunity for threat actors. Cybercriminals are exploiting the increased vulnerabilities created by remote access to create disruption, steal data, and make profits. Government networks, with their treasure trove of sensitive data, continue to be a prime target of cyber espionage.

Government agencies rely on networks to securely connect to communities, access critical applications and share information. However, these networked environments are growing in complexity, driven by expanding cloud adoption, Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) applications and a distributed workforce. Traditional network and security frameworks must evolve to support today’s digitally transformed organizations. With our SASE architecture, Cisco has radically simplified networking and security operations for this purpose. By converging cloud security and SD-WAN with end-to-end visibility, a SASE architecture helps governments to provide seamless, secure connections to any applications over any network or cloud, regardless of where their employees are located.

Forging opportunities

Even before the pandemic, labor markets have been shifting, driven by automation, technology, and demographic changes. The pandemic has only catalyzed this trend, accelerating business transformation from years to days. While these periods of ‘creative destruction’ are essential for new growth and the adoption of innovation, it is essential to ensure the broad diffusion of new skillsets in the labor market so that displaced workers are not left behind.

To safely upskill workers amidst physical distancing guidelines, organizations need a robust, agile web-conferencing solution that can enable learning and collaboration, regardless of where the individual is situated. Cisco Webex is dedicated to keeping learning alive, creating distance and hybrid learning experiences that are both flexible and secure so that students of all ages can learn and collaborate, no matter where they are.

Including everyone

Even as countries begin to emerge out of the pandemic and the workforce starts returning to the office, one thing remains clear: we’re experiencing a profound change in how we work. With 80% of workers surveyed revealing a preference for a hybrid work environment, the recent crisis has revolutionized the paradigm of how teams operate. Both public and private organizations are now exploring the best way to move forward and create a workplace not bound by the physical office that powers collaboration and inclusion regardless of where the employee is located.

At Cisco, we too had to transform our workplace to enable the future of work. We reimagined our own offices across the world to ensure a safe return to the office. Our offices use Cisco DNA Spaces, which leverage location analytics to monitor office facilities and ensure that employees are socially distanced. For employees connecting remotely, the Secure Remote Worker solution empowers safe access to applications and critical resources, regardless of the device they are using or where they are connecting from.

Cisco is dedicated to creating an inclusive future for all. Our Country Digital Acceleration (CDA) program is designed to power an inclusive future by developing strategic partnerships with governments around the world and unlocking the value of digitization.


Clarence Barboza

Director, Public Sector

Sales, Asia-Pacific, Japan and China