One small US survey may provide some clues that also ring true for remote workers in other countries and regions.

In an online survey of just 287 IT and cybersecurity professionals in the US, conducted in January 2021, 57% of respondents still had over three-quarters of their teams working remotely. Also, 90% of organizations in the survey said they were likely to continue these increased levels of remote work in the future due to productivity benefits. 

Additionally, 53% of companies said they were looking to make some positions permanently remote after the pandemic ends, compared to the same sentiments at the start of the pandemic (33%).

The respondents ranged from technical executives to IT security practitioners, representing a balanced cross-section of organizations of varying sizes across multiple industries in the United States.

Key WFH concerns
Despite experiencing a full year of remote work, many responding organizations wer still feeling worried and unprepared for securing off-premises users. 

  • The biggest remote work security concerns stemmed from data leaking through endpoints (68%), users connecting with unmanaged devices (59%), and access from outside the perimeter (56%). 
  • These concerns were followed by maintaining compliance with regulatory requirements (45%), remote access to core business apps (42%), and loss of visibility over user activity (42%).
  • Security professionals recognized that the remote state of operations requires an increasingly cloud-centric IT ecosystem, with 71% ‘agreeing’ that their organization could shift away from on-premises appliances and tools in favor of the Cloud for enabling remote work. 
  • While respondents were using a variety of controls to secure remote work, most were still facing the challenges that come with using legacy tools that are not well suited for the modern enterprise. For example, bandwidth restrictions, which have massive ramifications for security solution scalability, were cited as the leading barrier to securing remote work at 41%. 
  • 55% of respondents also reported that relying upon virtual private networking had proven challenging over the last year. 

Commented Anurag Kahol, CTO of Bitglass, which commissioned the survey: “As we look ahead to what work will be like after the COVID-19 pandemic, there will be a need for a mixed IT and security environment as people will work both on and off premises. Embracing the Cloud is critical for enabling this and should happen sooner rather than later.”