More than two thirds (68%) of organisations would provide their homeworkers with a dedicated, managed connection to their corporate network, according to research commissioned by Daisy Corporate Services (DCS), a leading provider of secure IT, communications and cloud services. This comes at a time when organisations say that shared broadband connections (40%), remote working cybersecurity risks (40%) and connectivity performance (39%) have been the biggest technology challenges they have faced during lockdown.
The survey of 350 UK organisations across the private and public sector reveals that the majority (85%) expect up to half of their employees to continue to work from home over the next year. As a result, almost a quarter of organisations say they are looking to downsize their office space. However, almost all respondents (97%) stated that working environments for homeworkers need to be adapted if homeworking is to be effective long term.
“It is clear that organisations will need to continue to support homeworking long into the future. While many organisations were able to navigate the short-term technology challenges posed by the rapid increase in homeworking, further transformation is required for it to be effective in the long-term,” said Richard Beeston, Product Director at DCS. “To date, many homeworkers have simply ‘got by’ using their existing Internet connectivity, but this does pose both ongoing performance and cybersecurity challenges for many organisations. As homeworking models mature, we’d expect to see increased investments in connectivity and security as remote access to systems, applications and data becomes the norm.”
Cybersecurity focuses for 2021
The research reveals that cybersecurity will remain a big focus for organisations as homeworking increasingly becomes the norm. Almost half (46%) of respondents felt that cybersecurity risk management of remote workers was an essential part of ongoing homeworking strategies.
When it comes to cybersecurity investments of the next 12 months, the key areas of focus are:
• Protection against data theft – 60%
• Recovery from a cyber breach – 47%
• VPN – 48%
• Penetration testing – 41%
Collaboration tools widely used, but not always effectively
During lockdown, Microsoft Teams (94%) and Zoom (78%) were the most adopted collaboration technologies. However, a quarter (25%) of organisations admit that they face challenges making effective use of these technologies. This will undoubtedly be a big area of focus over the next 12 months, as the organisations surveyed want technology to support homeworking (22%) and for it to improve productivity and efficiency (21%).
The survey reveals that IT budgets will continue to vary from organisation to organisation, with 38% saying they will increase this year, while a further 30% say they face a decrease. However, it is clear that the business demands on IT will continue to grow, therefore perhaps unsurprisingly 70% of organisations expect their IT support needs to increase over the next year.
“The last 12 months have illustrated just how important IT is to supporting ‘business as usual’ operations and the need for robust cybersecurity practices. The next stage for many organisations will be to ensure that employees are making effective use of the technologies they are being provided with, both from a security and productivity perspective. Those organisations they are able to do this effectively will be the homeworking winners,” added Richard Beeston.
Methodology: DCS commissioned research by LARATO who surveyed senior employees, including CEOs, CFOs, CIO/CTOs, Heads of IT, IT managers and COOs at 350 UK mid-market businesses during November and December 2020.