Not only has the COVID-19 pandemic profoundly impacted all of us across the globe, it also completely transformed the way organizations function. As the pandemic forced people indoors, companies rushed to facilitate remote work and maintain business continuity. This is where IT departments stepped in. By deploying new technologies, upgrading existing solutions, and keeping a distributed workforce secure, IT teams did it all.
In order to understand more about this paradigm shift, ManageEngine conducted a global research survey focusing on remote work's effects on cloud usage and organizational security.
We also investigated trends related to AI, business analytics, and technology adoption.
The survey was completed by 1,210 qualified executives and technology professionals from India, the United States, Canada, Singapore, the United Kingdom, Australia, and New Zealand. All participants were directly responsible for IT and procuring business technologies.
8 out of 10 IT professionals report that the pandemic has led to an increase in cloud usage.
83% of respondents revealed that remote workers increase security risks.
Only 56% of companies have changed their security strategy—despite remote employees being directly targeted more often.
The popularity of AI continues to flourish with 81% of organizations reporting that their confidence in AI has grown over the last two years.
We find ourselves in a new world where remote work is encouraged, and the onus lies on organizations to foster a truly hybrid workplace. This research finds that IT is now seen as a critical business enabler that plays a key role in optimizing operations and addressing the demands of a transformed workplace.
Remote work will have a lasting impact with 96% of organizations stating that they will be supporting remote workers for at the least the next two years. Unsurprisingly, cloud solutions have emerged as a forerunner in technologies that can facilitate remote work. However, companies want more from cloud offerings, specifically in terms of performance, reliability, and security.
In order to support a distributed workforce, organizations are more willing than ever to invest in new technology. Security, reliability, and cost reduction were found to be the top three drivers behind organizational decisions to adopt new technology.
The survey also finds that organizations are increasingly relying on AI and business analytics to fuel data-driven decision-making and maintain their competitive edge. 89% of the companies surveyed indicated increased usage of business analytics; interestingly, this was primarily led by IT teams. Confidence in artificial intelligence has increased as well, as organizations look to AI for improvements in operational efficiency and improved customer experiences.
The results below have been organized into three sections
(Remote work driving increased cloud reliance)
Due to the pandemic, technology professionals are increasingly prioritizing cloud security,
VPN usage, and remote worker support.
Cloud customers are looking for improved security, performance, and reliability from cloud solutions.
96% of companies will be operating with remote workers for at least the next two years.
83% are increasing their reliance on the cloud.
42% of respondents stated that 'improved compliance' will increase their organizations' confidence in cloud-based solutions.
When asked about the new tech-related skills learned due to the pandemic situation, only 22% of respondents chose compliance.
India is the only region where public and private cloud usage were among the top three skills acquired during the pandemic.
97% of organizations reported that their reliance on cloud had increased, compared to the global figure of 83%.
Improved security, reliability, and performance would boost confidence in cloud-based solutions.
Remote worker support, security, and VPN usage were the top three related skills acquired during the pandemic.
74% of respondents increased their cloud usage; this is 9% below the global average.
Private cloud was the top-learned skill in Singapore, with 50% of respondents equipping themselves with knowledge about private cloud.
86% of respondents say their organization's reliance on cloud has increased, compared to the global figure of 83%.
Cloud usage has increased in 84% of U.K. businesses, with IT operations increasing their usage the most (57%).
51% of respondents said that use of cloud solutions has increased for data-related purposes, such as storage and backup.
47% of organizations increased their use of cloud solutions to implement services to support remote workers.
(Security attacks targeting remote workers; companies responding slowly)
Security threats have increased, making it difficult for many organizations to handle phishing,
malware, and other network endpoint attacks.
83% reveal remote workers increase security risk.
78% of companies fail to control applications and services employees use.
Only 56% of companies have adapted a security strategy for employees working from home.
52% of organizations report that phishing attacks have increased due to the pandemic.
Security is the top driver behind organizational decisions to adopt new technology.
Roughly 48% of respondents believe that social media-based attacks were the most common security threat during the pandemic.
Only 37% of respondents stated that implementing a Zero Trust network model was a key security action adopted by their company.
Only 30% had to learn about VPN in India; this is well below the global average of 35%.
48% companies have implemented zero trust networks, as opposed to the global figure of 31%.
With online meeting tools and mobile apps often purchased without IT team approval, the threat of shadow IT looms large.
96% of companies will be operating with remote workers for at least the next two years.
81% reveal that remote workers increase security risk.
The top security threats are phishing, endpoint network attacks, and malware.
Only 57% of companies adapted their security strategy.
Only 19% of North American companies adopted a zero trust network. This is the lowest in the world, 12% below global average.
Security and remote worker support were among the top three acquired skills in Singapore.
The threat of shadow IT looms large in Singapore, as online meeting tools and mobile apps are particularly likely to be purchased without IT team approval.
83% of organizations have seen security threats increase as a result of the pandemic.
45% of U.K.-based companies have seen phishing threats increase, followed by account hijacking (38%), and social media-based attacks (36%)
In order to combat the growing security threats due to the pandemic, 65% of organizations raised employee awareness around threats, and 65% provided employee cybersecurity training.
Only 26% of organizations have opted for Zero Trust network implementation.
51% of organizations reported that improving security was the top reason behind the adoption of new technologies.
76% of companies' IT teams aren’t always consulted before employees purchase new software solutions. 37% of respondents said employees had purchased online meeting tools without direct approval from IT, followed by mobile-specific apps (33%), and productivity apps (27%).
(AI and business analytics growing rapidly to support data-driven decision-making)
More than ever before, IT personnel are relying on AI-based tools and analytics software to
inform their business decisions.
89% report increased use of business analytics.
64% of organizations have reported using business analytics to improve decision-making.
86% of organizations increased their usage of AI over the last 2 years.
81% report their confidence in AI solutions has grown.
AI drives improvements in business insights, operations, and customer satisfaction.
63% of respondents are using AI to make the most of their available data.
89% of the respondents believe that the use of business analytics in their companies increased over the last two years.
93% of Indian respondents say AI has delivered measurable business results—compared to 71% globally.
91% say confidence in AI has increased over the last two years.
Respondents in India resoundingly think AI will meet business expectations.
Reasons for use include improved customer experience, operational efficiency, and business analytics.
Competition and profitability are driving the usage of business analytics in India, something not seen as much in other regions.
85% organizations reported an increase in usage of business analytics.
67% of North American executives increased their usage of business analytics, which is 20% more than global average.
77% of people in North America are using analytics for improved decision-making — nearly 13% more than the global average.
76% report their confidence in AI has grown – 5% below global average.
80% have increased use of AI in past 2 years – 6% below global average.
70% are using AI to improve business analytics – 7% above global average.
72% of North Americans are using AI for operational efficiency - 10% more than the global average.
Increased competitiveness, reliability, and security contributed to companies' adoption of new technologies, with Singapore citing "increased competitiveness" and "reliability" more than respondents from any other region.
In Singapore, the desire to improve decision-making, use available data (69% vs 61% globally), and make decisions faster were the top reasons behind their increased usage of analytics.
Nearly 80% of respondents say their confidence in AI has increased over the last two years.
85% of companies have increased their use of AI over the last two years.
59% of respondents said improving business analytics was the main driver behind employing AI tools, followed by the need to improve customer experience (53%), and increase operational efficiency (50%).
93% of respondents said they believe AI will meet business expectations.
89% of organizations have increased the use of business analytics over the last two years.