Majority of IT organizations fear increased risk exposure due to WFH: Study

A large percentage of IT teams face tremendous strain from an organization?s reliance on outdated legacy technologies like VPN, exacerbated by staff reductions due to illness or layoffs, according to HiveIO?s study, titled Virtual Economy IT Impact. The study highlights the severe impact COVID-19 has had on corporate data security.

The study shows the impact of the new ?virtual economy? on IT teams and reflects the opinions of organizations across a wide variety of industry verticals. Over 50% of respondents represent organizations with more than 1,000 employees. The study reveals IT departments are working at a deficit in their ability to support and maintain business continuity while optimizing IT support:

  • The outbreak has impacted 50% of respondents; 1/3 reported an extremely devastating level of impact
  • At a time when businesses are on a decline, 70% of respondents have experienced increased costs; of which close to 20% face an increase of 50% or more

Unable to introduce new solutions designed to improve efficiency of work-from-home employees, IT departments must now support an unplanned, dramatically increased remote workforce.

  • Prior to the pandemic, 70% of respondents had less than 10% of employees working remotely, now 100% work remotely resulting in IT teams supporting 90% more remote workers
  • Over 70% of respondents have not deployed new technologies to monitor, manage, and support at-home employees
  • About 70% of organizations use remote login and access tools to physically connect to computers and desktops ? tools known to generate performance and security issues

?This pandemic left organizations little opportunity to initiate new technology projects, which traditionally require multiple months to deploy,? said Yama Habibzai, COO at HiveIO. ?That lack of manpower, budget, and time, shrinking IT teams cannot provide physical on-site or data center support. It?s a perfect storm.?

Risks are Real, Mitigation Exists

The strain on IT from the switch to a remote workforce is escalated by the loss of IT staff. Nearly 25% of respondents reported shrinking staff support and another 18% fear additional staff reductions. According to Habibzai, ?A loss of staff coupled with a network outage or inaccessibility to critical applications can devastate an organization. Picture a hospital facing a barrage of new IT stressors ? lives are literally at stake.?

Over 85% of organizations anticipate a larger remote workforce will threaten operations because of new risks, including:

  • Digital communications issues (54%)
  • Employee productivity loss due to family distractions and/or a new approach to work (49%)
  • Security risks involving cybersecurity ? ransomware, data breach concerns, compliance issues, etc. (46%)
  • General security issues protecting intellectual properties (31%)
  • Reduced business due to travel restrictions (23%)
  • Increase in business costs to support remote staff (22%)

VDI a Possible Solution

Virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI), a proven enhancement to an organization?s technology stack, delivers efficiency, cost reductions, improved security, and risk mitigation. However, approximately 30% of organizations are only somewhat or unfamiliar with the value VDI provides. More than 50% of organizations do not run VDI, nor have they explored it as a viable solution, despite its reputation as the most secure, efficient, and cost-effective solution as a remote-ready infrastructure that seamlessly transitions from on-premise to at-home.

Habibzai said, ?The future of desktop computing is VDI. It allows a low-cost device to behave like a USD3,000 computer. Traditionally, organizations shied away from VDI, believing it was complex. However, the next generation VDI eliminates complexity and can be deployed in less than one hour. ?

The new virtual economy is one where more than half of a typical organization?s employees will work from home. With the right technology in place, organizations can strategically streamline operational efficiencies, optimize employee productivity, and protect critical data, while providing the best possible end-user experience.

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