LogMeIn released findings of a new LogMeIn Central report commissioned to reveal the current state of IT in the new era of remote work. The report, “The Surprising New State of IT in a Remote World: Tackling Challenges and Redefining IT for Future Success” was conducted in partnership with Lab42 and quantifies the impact of COVID-19 on IT roles and priorities for small to medium-sized businesses.
The North American study reveals the massive shift in the day-to-day work of IT professionals, and the broader impact of the transition to remote work for the majority of businesses. The report uncovers how the budgets, priorities, and functions of IT teams at small and medium-sized businesses continue to be shaped by ongoing global upheaval and uncertainty and provides insights into how IT professionals are adapting their roles and teams to these challenges.
Trends and challenges highlighted in the report include:
- Virtual tasks and security concerns demand more IT time
With the onset of COVID-19, the types of tasks that filled a typical IT team member’s day changed significantly. The research found that 67 percent of respondents said they spend more time on virtual tasks like team web meetings, remotely accessing employee devices (66 percent) and customer web meetings (52 percent). Security also gained increased focus, with 54 percent spending more time managing IT security threats and 54 percent developing new security protocols. Nearly half (47 percent) of IT professionals are spending 5 to 8 hours per day on IT security, compared to 35% in 2019. The increased complexities of BYOD and BYOA (Bring-Your-Own-Devices and Access) work environments combined with advancements in cyberattacks have increasingly monopolized the focus of IT professionals.
- IT is most worried about a breach
The top IT security concerns continue to be data breaches (cloud, internal, and external), malware, employee behavior, and ransomware. With cloud technology and adoption skyrocketing over the years, fear of a cloud data security breach has increased significantly just in the past two years, with 40% of IT professionals expressing concern in 2018 and 53% citing it as a top security concern in 2020. Another higher priority concern in 2020 compared to previous years is ‘Rapidly evolving business technology practices’ with nearly one third (29 percent) of IT professionals stating it’s a top security concern in 2020, compared to only a fifth (20 percent) in 2019.
- Lack of budget is the greatest barrier to keeping up with trends in IT
More than a third of IT professionals (35 percent) agree that a lack of budget is the biggest challenge their company is facing in trying to keep up with IT trends. IT training, lack of IT staff, lack of control over a remote workforce, and IT staff resistance to change are all seen as the most common reasons IT teams are struggling to adapt to changes in their field. With limited budget, IT teams must implement solutions that enable them to do more with less and prioritize implementing tools with security, automation, and monitoring functionality.
- Software facilitating remote collaboration and management proved most valuable to IT
Given that it was no longer possible to stop by an employee’s desk to address any issues, 38 percent of IT teams prioritized remote access software first during the COVID-19 pandemic. With employees working from home, having a way to collaborate with colleagues became mission-critical, so it’s not surprising that one third of IT respondents prioritized meeting and communications software.
“Despite the impact many teams experienced from COVID-19 – from budget, to resource allocation, to project priorities – many teams are now more prepared,” said Ian Pitt, Chief Information Officer at LogMeIn. “This data shows that the pandemic has led to improved training for IT and employees, ensuring all employees have the appropriate hardware and software, and even installed multifactor authentication for improved security.”