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Employee safety and compliance are top challenges when supporting remote workers

Maintaining security on remote endpoints and ensuring remote employees comply with new controls are two thorny issues for IT pros, says Workspot.

Image: Azat Valeev / Adobe Stock

The coronavirus pandemic has forced organizations to quickly transition to a remote work environment. Such rapid change has created several challenges, and many of those challenges continue two years later, especially with a hybrid workforce that is increasingly becoming the norm. A report released Tuesday by cloud platform provider Workspot examines how the shift to a remote workforce has affected cybersecurity and other areas for many organizations.

For its report “The State of Remote Work 2022: A Survey of End-User IT Decision Makers,” Workspot commissioned market research firm Dimensional Research to survey 304 IT professionals about their workforce. remote work. Respondents were all responsible for end-user computing and remote work in companies with more than 200 workstations.

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Of those surveyed, almost all of them acknowledged having difficulty supporting remote workers. By far the biggest challenge was safety, with 71% specifically highlighting issues with maintaining safety across a wide range of work environments.

The second challenge, cited by 60%, was ensuring remote employees comply with the new controls. Close behind, as mentioned by 59%, was ensuring user devices performed as expected in remote locations.

Other challenges include managing data on local devices, collaborating across teams, procuring and provisioning the right hardware for remote workers, supporting changing network requirements, managing increasing help desk calls, identifying and delivering applications tailored to the needs of remote workers, and establishing productive technology environments for remote employees.

Focusing on security, respondents identified several specific challenges they faced securing a remote or hybrid workforce. Some 67% said the extended security perimeter required new approaches and tools, 54% said it was more difficult to secure user devices outside the corporate firewall, 51% highlighted difficulties in assessing risk levels for unfamiliar environments and 48% said using identity management tools to ensure proper authentication and authorization is more difficult.

With the shift to remote and hybrid working, IT budgets have had to adapt and change accordingly. When asked which areas of the budget would be increased this year, 92% of respondents mentioned security, 78% cited cloud infrastructure, and 75% cited cloud services.

Other areas requiring increased funding included collaboration tools, productivity solutions, employee environments (audio, video, etc.), virtual desktop infrastructure (on-premises or in the cloud), and data monitoring. user experience.

Despite budget increases, many IT professionals have admitted to struggling to properly support their remote workforce. When asked if they had the resources for this type of support, 30% said they had everything they needed and more. However, 37% said they had enough but barely enough, 26% said it was never enough, and 6% said they clearly lacked the necessary resources.

“IT managers continue to face many challenges amidst the new workplace paradigm, but through this process, they have realized the power of the cloud,” said Workspot co-founder and CEO Amitabh Sinha. , in a press release. “To continue to support the ‘anywhere’ workforce, more established strategies around cloud migration, VDI modernization and SaaS application implementation [should] generalize to help forward-looking organizations evolve for years to come.

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To help organizations better manage security issues and associated challenges for a remote or hybrid workforce, Workspot Product Manager Jimmy Chang offers the following advice:

Adopt a zero-trust strategy. This means that you don’t trust anyone inside or outside the organization unless they are properly vetted. The goal is to protect your applications and data and put strong controls in place to ensure that employees and contractors only have access to what they need to do their job.

Consider Cloud PCs. Cloud PCs make it easier to centrally manage the operating system and security patches while removing sensitive data from endpoints. They can also improve the security of BYOD environments and other unmanaged endpoints.

Watch everything. Prioritize real-time visibility into your network environment. Your IT staff should be able to monitor user access and proactively mitigate any threats or risks that could impact your business.

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