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IT pros report increase in security issues due to remote working

Security issues, IT workloads and communication challenges have all seen significant increases in the new remote working era, according to new research from Ivanti.

The research, which looked at the impact of the move to work from home in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, found for 63% of IT professionals, IT workloads have increased 37% since going remote. 

Top incidents and requests impacting their amount of work include:

  • 74% VPN issues
  • 56% video conferencing
  • 48% bandwidth constraints
  • 47% password resets
  • 47% messaging issues

Ivanti says compounding the challenge is the sheer volume of employees now working remotely. 43% of IT professionals report three quarters of their employees now work remote and more than a third said 100% of their employees are working remotely. 

According to survey respondents, this is an increase of 93% in the last few months, showing a dramatic and rapid shift following the coronavirus outbreak.

This remote shift is critically impacting IT security posture, Ivanti says. Two-thirds (66%) of IT professionals reported a rise in security issues in this expanded remote environment, including these top three issues:

  • 58% malicious emails
  • 45% risky, non-compliant employee behavior
  • 31% increase in software vulnerabilities

One-in-five IT professionals rated lack of communication as their top challenge in this new normal. In addition to communication challenges, the difficulty in providing seamless support to remote employees has added new work for IT professionals who have had to do the following:

  • 70% increased VPN access to more employees
  • 54% sourced, set up and distributed extra devices
  • 52% created more “how to” knowledge articles for employees

Despite the increased workload, IT professionals cited a number of benefits to working from home. Nearly half (44%) said the best benefit was “no commute,” while 19% liked their flexible work hours and 16% said they are more productive. More casual attire was also a benefit with 52% reporting that their work from home ensemble consisted of “casual dress,” with 7% admitting that pajamas was the “new look.”

“Responding to the COVID-19 pandemic has indeed placed an unprecedented demand on IT teams as they work to balance security and user productivity for the new remote workforce,” says Phil Richards, chief security officer, Ivanti. 

“It’s a shift we see firsthand at Ivanti. To ease the new IT workload, we found that by employing more IT service automation and asset management optimisation our IT staff is better equipped to support users’ needs, while also taking necessary actions to mitigate security risk," he says. 

"As a result we are able to ensure employees can remain both productive and safe.”