Today no one is surprised how the latest events in the world have pushed companies to organize more flexible work that allows employees to work outside the office. The urgent need to continue working under quarantine conditions has also allowed more organizations to appreciate the benefits of flexible work. However, in addition to the benefits, the obstacles and risks associated with providing employees with remote access to corporate resources and weakening control over daily work have become more obvious. While these trends now seem obvious, we at Softline decided to find out what's really going on with our customers in implementing remote work and the challenges they face.
94% organizations support remote work
The total number of clients with whom Softline works worldwide exceeds 60 thousand. We decided to conduct a sample survey among a limited number of our clients. The survey included heads of IT and telecom services, heads of information security services, IT administrators, as well as general managers and HR managers from different organizations.
Who works remotely?
The vast majority of respondents (94%) confirmed that they provided the opportunity to work remotely for employees of the organization.
Have you set up remote work in your organization?
What percentage of workforce works remote permanently?
23% of surveyed organizations have taken less than a quarter of all employees to remote work - from 5% to 25%. More than third of respondents said that more than 25% of employees are or may be constantly at remote work. Among them are companies that have taken 70% or even 100% of employees to remote work. These same companies said they have no plans to increase the number of employees at remote work. To be fair it should be noted that our survey included very few companies that cannot afford to bring large numbers of employees to work from home - such as healthcare, food production and supply, transportation, energy and others.
Remote work became possible for the most of functions
Are you going to shift more employees to remote work?
It is clear that not all roles are equally represented in different organizations. However, our survey allows us to understand that all functions from which we have offered to choose can be performed by remote employees. Only in 13% of the surveyed companies IT staff is the only to be transferred to remote work. In other organizations, the set of functions at remote work was wide. Some of them and 35% of the total number of companies that organized remote work, on the contrary, prefer IT staff to work on site.
Here, we can see that most of the remote workers presented by horizontal functions, which are present in most organizations one way or another. The reason why salesforce is not in the top of the chart, who are considered the most mobile since a long ago, is due to the fact that in the government organizations that took part in the survey, such a role usually does not exist at all.
What is the function of employees working remotely?
What are the challenges?
As we expected, based on recent customer requests, the main challenges in moving to remote work are information security (74%) and maintaining the same productivity and control over employees' work (61%). It is interesting to note that if a respondent marked only one problem, it was employee’s productivity. In the majority of companies (71%), the IT infrastructure was ready to provide remote work – by this we mean providing access to corporate resources, stability and the availability of portable devices.
74% of organizations face cybersecurity issues when it comes to work remotely
Noticeable increase in the workload of the IT staff and the unavailability of the IT infrastructure are equally common, but encountered separately. Only in half of the cases the state of IT infrastructure correlates with overload of IT specialists.
Despite a lot of attention paid recently in the IT market to communication and collaboration tools, the number of respondents noting problems in this area remains noticeable.
In general, according to the survey, the majority of organizations still have to solve a number of issues for confident work in the new conditions - only one respondent stated that all problems connected with organization of remote work have been solved.
Protecting corporate information has been a top priority for organizations in all areas for some time now, and the forced shift to remote work has exposed some issues that were previously out of sight. The cybersecurity market is booming - there is no shortage of solutions right now. IT and cybersecurity officers need to have a clear understanding of what tools will allow them to cope with the threats they are exposed to, and correctly prioritize them – from modern end-point protection and firewalls, to advanced threat protection and incident monitoring and response service. A comprehensive cybersecurity assessment will identify all weaknesses, help close the most critical ones as quickly as possible and build a roadmap for building a strong information protection system.
Often, modernizing IT infrastructure also solves the problems associated with securing access to corporate data. Modern desktop and application virtualization tools, in addition to allowing access to the working environment from any compatible device, also reduce the risk of unauthorized access to IT infrastructure and valuable information.
How to ensure productive work and be confident that employees are doing their job is a serious new challenge for leaders around the world. And this challenge should be resolved, perhaps, first at the level of fostering a new management culture, raising the qualifications of managers and implementing new approaches to personnel management. Without this, the tools for managing the execution of projects and tasks, which are widely available on the market, as well as controlling and limiting what employees do during working hours, are unlikely to give the expected return.
Keep in mind that these are people who get the job done and use all the tools meant to increase productivity, run new processes, reduce costs, and counter cybersecurity threats. Therefore, it is very important to provide change management in information security, provide training to adopt new tools and raise awareness in information security among employees.
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