100 percent of 400 IT and security leaders across EMEA, North America and APAC have adopted the hybrid model, and rank enabling it as the number one priority for their organisations, according to the results of a Pulse survey conducted by Citrix.
Business leaders who once bristled at the idea of remote work because they didn’t think employees could deliver outside the office now see the benefits it can deliver in terms of employee productivity and experience. They are calling on IT to enable it, and as revealed by the research, they’re answering.
When asked to rank their top five priorities over the next five years, respondents said:
· Enabling distributed collaboration
· Ensuring always-on availability
· Empowering individual focus
· Providing a consistent, consumer-like experience from device to device and location to location
· Automating work
“In 2020, IT was focused on survival amid the great remote work pressure test. In 2021, they overhauled their infrastructure and strategies to accommodate this new model. And in 2022, they will enact flexible technology strategies and workplace policies to deliver what is clearly the future of work,” said Meerah Rajavel, Chief Information Officer, Citrix.
Business leaders will of course face some challenges in executing this vision. When asked to identify the top obstacles to driving digital transformation, two in five (41%) cited a lack of understanding of needs across the business to effectively prioritise investments, while a third (34%) recognised cumbersome, complex infrastructure. Nearly a quarter (24%) called out a lack of investment in cloud technology.
Security is also a concern. When asked what they see as the top risks opened by remote and hybrid work, 41 per cent called out ransomware attacks while nearly a fifth (18%) flagged insider threats. API/software breaches and vulnerabilities (16%) and phishing and cloud-related attacks (15%) were also noted.
Respondents also recognised that their teams are stretched to the max by revealing that:
· 70 per cent are working more hours
· 56 per cent are leaving
· 50 per cent are experiencing decreased productivity
· 49 per cent are less satisfied with their jobs
· 24 per cent are disengaged
When leaders were asked how they plan to overcome these challenges seven key areas were called out, namely bridging the cybersecurity gap (32%), managing the pace of digital acceleration with cybersecurity investment (29%), Zero Trust Network Access (14%) and vendor consolidation or simplification (13%). Security AI and automation, app/API protection and/or browser isolation for SaaS and web apps make up 10 per cent, while two per cent called out acceleration to SASE.
“When it comes to securing a workforce that cycles in and out of the office, ensuring an even playing field for collaboration and supporting employees through what remains a time of unprecedented upheaval, IT can no longer afford to make yesterday’s compromises between distributed collaboration and security,” Rajavel said. “Instead, they must implement solutions and strategies that help them to balance these seemingly competing priorities and chart a new course that allows them to deliver the future of flexible work.”