Study finds turbulent IT enterprise transition to COVID work-from-home policies

Most IT departments said the transition to supporting a home-based workforce due to COVID-19 has been far from smooth.
Written by Tom Foremski, Contributor

Some offices could stay empty until mid-2021 as people work from home to avoid COVID-19.

Photo: Tom Foremski

A global study of IT professionals reports a turbulent transition to COVID-driven work from home policies and most said it has been far from smooth. But it has driven cloud infrastructure investments in the scramble to support the massive shift in work practices.

Only 45% of more than 1,200 respondents said they are prepared for when employees might return to the office. And just one-third said that the changes in IT needed to support COVID driven work policies was "smooth" with the rest dealing with significant challenges.

Responses were gathered over a two-week period ending September 3, from 1216 IT professionals from the U.S., Canada, U.K., Germany, France, BeNeLux, Nordics, Australia, Singapore and Hong Kong.

The survey was commissioned by One Identity, which manages the identities of more than 125 million employees at over 75,000 organizations. 

"We now know the truth: the COVID pandemic did not change the need to be productive, nor did it change the regulatory compliance requirements companies face, but clearly IT and security teams scrambled to shift their systems to accommodate work from home in a secure and controlled way," said Darrell Long, president at One Identity. 

"However, most of them are still dealing with new challenges as employees adapt, IT and security teams effectively respond to the challenge of providing effective processes for gaining access to the resources needed for the workforce to do their jobs and security challenges associated with this new working environment."

Working from home is a security problem because the home office has become one of the weakest security points and a favorite exploitation for hackers. One Identity manages employee identity and controls who can access enterprise data and resources such as from home locations.

The survey found that cloud-based deployments have been greatly accelerated with 62% saying it is more important now than a year ago. And 50% said there is a higher priority for installing access technologies. 

Several large companies such as Ford, Target, Google have said that their offices will be closed to most employees until the summer of 2021. This means IT departments will have to support large numbers of employees working outside the traditional office for a long time, in some cases this is a permanent change. 

One Identity will discuss the results of the survey and the insights discovered, at its free virtual user conference on November 10, 2020 at 11am.

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