Remote Working Could Be the Norm After #COVID19

Mass remote working in the US could be here to stay after Covid-19 has receded, according to a new report from Gartner, raising ongoing security concerns.

The analyst firm polled 229 HR leaders earlier this month, finding that for half of the respondents, 81% or more of their employees are currently working remotely. This figure rose to 61-80% for a further 15% of HR interviewees.

However, this pattern could become the norm for many organizations going forward: two-fifths (41%) of employees are likely to work outside the office at least some of the time post-pandemic, up from 30% before the virus struck, according to Gartner.

The analyst warned that, while productivity is much higher for remote workers — 48% exhibiting “discretionary effort” vs 35% who never work remotely — the risk of these employees leaving is higher. Those who never work outside the office exhibit “intent to stay” 13 percentage points higher than remote workers.

However, that’s not the only potential risk to organizations of a new remote or home working trend.

“A significant challenge is the fact that many organizations still operate with legacy systems that were never designed for enabling remote access, or supporting new technologies such as IoT devices, and therefore may be a long way off being suitable for remote teams,” warned Matt Middleton-Leal, general manager EMEA & APAC at Netwrix.

“Added to which, staff being allowed to use their own personal devices to access corporate networks and data presents a very real security risk, which could well be compounded if this practice is continued post-pandemic.”

Gartner’s analysis that remote employees are more likely to work across five or more teams makes monitoring and governance more important, he added.

“In practice, this means ensuring they have secure online data stores managed by IT teams and scanned for risky data on an ongoing basis. User behaviour monitoring is also a must in order to detect any potential security incidents in real-time,” Middleton-Leal concluded.

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