IT administrators 'under equipped' for remote work security demands

Over half of IT administrators (59 per cent) believe they are under equipped to tackle the security and privacy demands of remote working, according to new research by ManageEngine.

The enterprise IT management division of Zoho Corporation surveyed more than 500 global IT professionals, finding that nearly half (48 per cent) said the use or installation of systems, devices, software, applications and services without explicit IT department approval was on the rise - with only 22 per cent of organisations having strict policies in place to manage this threat.

This lack of shadow IT visibility amongst teams may be compounded by the 39 per cent who cited user training and knowledge sharing amongst employees as the greatest challenge of remote working, closely followed by managing IT assets (36 per cent).

“It is concerning to see that the rise in shadow IT is leaving IT teams in the dark over potential security threats - this puts an organisation’s data and assets at risk from potentially unsecure and unapproved software use or malicious downloads on their systems,” said Rajesh Ganesan, vice president at ManageEngine. “Alongside ensuring all employees are up to date on the business’ IT policies, during this time of remote working it’s essential to communicate a clear policy on the use of personal devices for business purposes.”

Only a third of respondents said they were already prepared with mobile-capable devices which employees had been using prior to the pandemic. A further 42 per cent of IT administrators stated their organisation was not sufficiently equipped with remote support tools and VPN licences before employees began remote working, with 15 per cent feeling they were still under equipped more than three months into global lockdowns.

This lack of planning may correlate to the fifth of respondents who did not have business continuity or disaster recovery plans in place.

Ganesan added: “Whilst we are now many months into the new reality of remote working, it is clear there is still work to be done to ensure organisations are considering security at the forefront of their business continuity plans.

"It’s clear the future will be, to some degree, remotely executed, and so IT teams should review and test their security protocols and tools with this in mind to ensure that they can plug any gaps.”

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