Remote working has magnified IT challenges - report

A new Forrester study has found the shift to remote and hybrid working models has magnified IT operational challenges for 75% of organisations.

The rapidly changing digital landscape has brought endpoint lifecycle management to the forefront, and highlighted three primary business concerns: asset management, user experience assurance, and risk management. A new Forrester study, commissioned by HP, has found the shift to remote and hybrid working models has magnified IT operational challenges for three quarters of organisations, and as remote work gains prominence under the guidance of business leaders, the importance of effective device strategies becomes increasingly apparent.

The secure and efficient management of PC fleets is becoming more and more difficult, with added complexities due to the growing prevalence of hybrid and remote work arrangements, often referred to as the ‘anywhere workforce’. In addition, the rise of threats like ransomware targeting endpoints has compounded the existing challenges in fleet management. 

It is crucial to recognise that fleet management goes beyond routine IT tasks; it plays a pivotal role in maintaining operational resilience, ensuring organisations can operate smoothly. Many enterprises nowadays are looking for ways in which to future-proof their fleet management practices, with the results of Forrester’s study underlining the necessity for companies to adopt always-on endpoint management to cater for increasingly dispersed global workforces.

The research conducted delves into the struggles companies face in maintaining accurate records of their assets, proactively addressing security risks, and ensuring a positive user experience. A staggering 75% of the IT and security leaders surveyed acknowledged that the shift towards remote and hybrid work models has exacerbated their operational challenges in the IT realm. This study underscores the importance for companies to embrace an always-on endpoint management approach to support their increasingly dispersed global workforces.

Dr. Ian Pratt, Global Head of Security for Personal Systems at HP explains: “The flexibility of being able to work and hire employees all over the world is one of the many benefits of living in a digital economy. Yet as the workplace evolves, security must too. To offer secure, efficient, and user-friendly IT experiences in the future, companies will need an always-on endpoint management infrastructure that can support this new way of working.”

The digital workplace is undergoing changes

Some of the key findings from the study included how the landscape of the digital workplace is undergoing significant changes. As indicated by the research, 72% of surveyed enterprises have adopted a hybrid work model. This underscores the imperative for organisations to possess the capability to effectively handle their endpoints within decentralised environments, with a strong focus on both productivity and security. 

The study also brought to light a considerable number of organisations that are neglecting firmware management, as only 42% conduct annual firmware updates, 23% update every two years or less, and 12% only update “when essential”. This neglect exposes companies to potential security vulnerabilities and operational inefficiencies. 

Another major concern is IT is having to rely on subpar protection, with 50% identifying inadequate endpoint security solutions as an obstacle to addressing security and management challenges. Simultaneously, 54% acknowledge that while full-disk encryption offers substantial protection for endpoints, it may prove inadequate when an attacker gains physical access to the device.

It was revealed that the challenge of maintaining accurate and current asset databases has become more pronounced, posing a significant challenge for many organisations. When combined with increasing regulatory requirements and internal audit scrutiny, Forrester recommends a substantial transformation in how businesses monitor and oversee their digital assets, particularly in remote work environments. 

Lastly, the research discovered a shared recognition among IT leaders of the need to invest in advanced solutions for endpoint security and management. Forrester highlighted the importance of adopting always-on fleet management to enhance enterprise resilience and efficiency, emphasising the benefits of advanced find, lock, and erase solutions, which provide enhanced data protection, streamline operations, and contribute to achieving management governance objectives. This becomes particularly critical in light of heightened regulatory demands, such as those outlined in the European Union's Network and Information Security Directive (NIS2).

“An always-on approach to fleet management is vital to creating a secure device life cycle and optimising distributed working environments. Continuous endpoint monitoring and real-time device management will help companies to protect sensitive data on the move and lower IT costs by reducing PC remediation or replacements,” concludes Dr. Pratt.

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