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Strained IT Teams Are Struggling to Maintain Security Standards, Research Shows

By Filip Truta on Nov 18, 2020 | 0 Comments
  • Tech leaders tend to overestimate the positive experience of remote workers
  • Since the beginning of COVID-19, almost a quarter of organizations have seen an uptick in support tickets from remote workers
  • 48% of workers confessed they prefer working in the office
  • 43% of IT leaders say their biggest concern is remote worker cybersecurity

Despite countless surveys analyzing remote work conditions and the impact on business operations, the jury is still out on whether employees are performing better or worse – or whether they even prefer the new arrangement at all. One recent study suggests both regular employees and their colleagues in IT are feeling strained and having a hard time adjusting, 10 months into COVID-19.

The findings, in a new NetMotion study, indicate that tech leaders tend to overestimate the positive experience of remote workers – with IT staff rating the quality of the remote working experience 21% higher than actual remote workers rated it.

Since the beginning of COVID-19, almost a quarter of organizations have seen an uptick in support tickets from remote workers, with 46% reporting a moderate increase in workload and 29% reporting a large increase, according to the survey.

“This extra burden is straining already stretched IT teams,” said the surveyors.

In a key finding, 48% of workers confessed they prefer the experience of working in the office.

“That may be because IT has a harder time diagnosing employee tools and technology challenges outside of controlled office settings,” the researchers reasoned.

Furthermore, over a quarter of IT teams admit struggling to diagnose the root cause of remote worker issues (a finding echoed in a North American study by LogMeIn).

And the top challenge for IT leaders surveyed was “ensuring reliable network performance,” as cited by 46% of those polled. Other pain points were software and application issues (43%), remote worker cybersecurity (43%), and hardware performance and configuration (38%).

The survey also revealed that the new remote work dynamic may be straining the relationship between employees and IT staff. For example, employees don’t fully trust their IT colleagues to provide the help they need, when they need it. Although 45% of remote workers say their IT department values employee feedback, 26% of remote workers believe their feedback wouldn’t change anything.

Adding insult to injury, while 66% of remote workers reported encountering an IT issue while working remotely, most don’t share their issues with IT.

“In fact, 58% of remote workers said that they had encountered IT issues while working remotely but did not share them with their IT team, and of the issues they reported to IT, only 46% were actually resolved,” according to the report.

The research doesn’t fully explain the culprit – other than the obvious strain on both IT workers and regular employees.

A recent study by Tessian indicates that 88% of data breaches are caused by human error outright. Nearly half of the employees in the study said they were “very” or “pretty” certain they’d made a mistake at work that had security repercussions for themselves or their company.

“Your employees are focused on the job you hired them to do and when faced with to-do lists, distractions, and pressure to get things done quickly, cognitive loads become overwhelming and mistakes can happen,” according to the report.

Enlisting the help of one Jeff Hancock, a Stanford University professor and expert in communication, the surveyors reached the conclusion that employees are reluctant to admit to their errors if their organization judges them too harshly.

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Author: Filip Truta

Filip is an experienced writer with over a decade of practice in the technology realm. He has covered a wide range of topics in such industries as gaming, software, hardware and cyber-security, and has worked in various B2B and B2C marketing roles. Filip currently serves as Information Security Analyst with Bitdefender.