According to Ivanti, malicious email, risky employee behavior, and an increase in software vulnerabilities are the greatest threats to IT professionals.
Image: Niyaz_Tavkaev, Getty Images / iStockphoto
The coronavirus pandemic and the resulting blockade have triggered a rapid and abrupt transition to remote working in many organizations. This shift has not only disrupted the flow of personnel, but has also increased the workload of many IT employees as they deal with security problems and other obstacles. A report released on Tuesday by IT software provider Ivanti highlights some of the challenges associated with moving to remote work.
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When surveying 1,600 IT professionals, Ivanti noted a fairly dramatic shift to a remote workforce. More than 40% of respondents stated that 75% of their company's employees now work remotely, while 35% stated that all employees work remotely.
93% of respondents who reported at least remote work said that the number of remote workers has increased in recent months. Most said that the postponement was triggered by a government mandate or an executive decision. Others said the move was due to a change in the family situation or a decision by the employees.
This rapid shift has forced IT employees to step up their efforts in certain areas. Among the respondents, 70% said they would improve VPN access for more employees, 54% had to set up and distribute additional devices, and 52% created more instructions for remote employees. When supporting remote employees, IT experts named the most important departments with which they interacted as engineering, HR and security.
The majority of respondents said their workload has increased 37% since removal, while incidents and support requests have increased 39%. VPN problems were rated as a primary requirement problem by 74% of respondents. Other important support requests included video conferencing issues, bandwidth constraints, password resets, messaging issues, file / data access issues, and new hardware requests.
Tracking hardware and software assets can easily lead to challenges for remote employees. 60% of respondents said that managing IT inventory was about the same as before, while 26% said it was now more difficult to track devices among users. Most (82%) said they knew what devices were accessing their network, but 13% said they weren't sure. 29% said they encountered more difficulty trying to update software between remote devices, while 32% said the process was about the same as before.
Cybercriminals have used the switch to remote work. Two thirds of the IT experts surveyed have noticed an increase in security problems due to the switch to remote work. About 58% saw an increase in malicious emails, 45% found riskier and non-compliant user behavior, and 31% saw an increase in software vulnerabilities.
Most IT staff had used collaboration tools before switching to remote working. Among the respondents, 69% use Microsoft Teams, 61% Microsoft 365 and 43% Zoom.
After all, IT professionals themselves benefit from certain advantages when they work at home. 44% cited the lack of commuting as the biggest bonus, followed by 19% who said they liked flexible working hours and 16% who said they were more productive.
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