2020 has been a year of change.
Almost overnight, the way we have worked for decades was flipped upside down and working from home became standard.
Before the UK lockdown began in March 2020, around 24% of the average workforce worked from home. Fast forward 10 months and the figure now stands at around 65%.
For lots of people, working from home has been a revelation. Many of us have revelled in no longer having to stand on a freezing cold platform or sit in hours of traffic to get to and from work. We can work from the comfort of our own homes, fit appointments into our lunch hour and get deliveries at any time of day. It's little wonder a significant proportion of the workforce are reluctant to ever to return to the old ways of working.
And research shows that productivity hasn’t suffered as a result of home working. In fact, many people are working longer hours as they log on in the early morning and check emails late into the evening. Of course, this throws up questions about how work/life balance has been affected during lockdown - but that’s another blog.
For all its benefits, home working has presented businesses with a new challenge; the challenge of shadow IT.
As the workforce use their own devices more often for work, networks are becoming more vulnerable to malicious attacks. And, without the 'boots on the ground' of the IT team to oversee proceedings, people are installing unsanctioned apps and solutions to make home working easier, unaware or perhaps unconcerned about the potential ramifications of doing so.
Core wanted to know more about how prevalent shadow IT has been this year and to what extent its increasing use has affected businesses.
We commissioned an independent survey of more than 200 IT decision makers in a range of UK-based organisations to see what the shadow IT landscape looks like in 2020 – and the solutions that businesses struggling to take hold of the reigns of unsanctioned IT can use to take back control.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, many organisations were unprepared for the monumental changes to working practices that happened almost overnight in the spring of last year. Of the organisations we asked, only 14% said they were “completely prepared” for the challenges of working during lockdown, and 31% said they felt “very unprepared” for the impact of remote work.
Most of the companies we spoke agreed they had implemented short-term fixes to help navigate the initial challenges of remote working despite knowing the solution shortcomings and sometimes without proper testing. And 51% of respondents said remote working has made it harder to control their IT infrastructure.
Amongst the challenges businesses reported were staff taking equipment IT home (48%), lack of training on remote working (44%) and increased use of personal devices for work (34%). 26% of respondents reported staff downloading unsanctioned software for remote working, and over half of businesses reported that shadow IT has increased in their organisation as a direct result of lockdown working and Covid-19.
But it’s not all bad news; businesses do know the kind of solutions and tools they want to help regain control of their IT infrastructure and dismantle the use of shadow IT.
75% of the people we asked agreed that quality remote working solutions are the best way to combat shadow IT, and 71% said they wanted an integrated communications solution such as Microsoft Teams to be implemented, with security and video calling cited as the most important features.
Explore our insights further, see survey results in details and compare your experience of remote working with the organisations we surveyed in our exclusive report. Download it now to see:
- The challenges organisations have faced due to remote working
- Preparedness for the changes to working practices
- The impact of remote working on prevalence of shadow IT
- The solutions businesses think will help solve the challenges of remote working