Security priorities focus on continuous remote and hybrid work

Nearly two years after the start of the pandemic, IT administrators at SMBs say they are seen as an important voice in business operations and feel less overwhelmed despite the continuing complexity of managing hybrid work models remotely, a JumpCloud investigation reveals.

The report details the continued impact of COVID-19, expectations regarding IT budgets, growing confidence in securing hybrid remote work, and overall satisfaction within the IT organization. The report represents more than 1,000 IT decision-makers from small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) from various industries.

“As millions of organizations have switched to hybrid remote working, these results show that IT administrators continue to look for ways to improve the employee experience and make workflows simple and secure,” said Tom’s Bridge, Senior Product Manager at JumpCloud.

IT budget and priorities

  • Security priorities focus on the ongoing remote hybrid work: The top three security priorities are adding layered security for truly secure remote working, making remote working easier for end users and easier remote working for administrators.
  • IT admins continue to seek a premium user experience: Making remote working easier for end users was a higher priority than making it easy for admins, and 88% agree or strongly agree that employee experience is an important factor in purchasing decisions. 54% agree that the remote or hybrid experience is not as easy or convenient as it could be.
  • Employees improve by following safety best practices: In May, 74% said working remotely made it more difficult for employees to follow good security practices (50% agree; 24% strongly agree). Now only 59% agree (44.3% agree; 14.2% strongly agree).
  • Managing remote workers remains the biggest challenge: Managing remote workers is the biggest challenge IT administrators have faced over the past year, currently at 57%, up from 53% in May, and more employees are now working remotely (32% against 23% in May).
  • Device management, a growing challenge: Only 46% reported device management as a challenge in May, but that number rose to 54%.
  • Rising budgets: 75% report an increase in their IT budget in the past year.
  • There is room for improvement: More than half think the hybrid remote control should be easier (41.6% agree; 10.5% strongly agree).

Security concerns for IT administrators in SMBs

  • SMEs are committed to educating their employees about security: 82% agree that their company regularly communicates best security practices to its employees.
  • Fewer SMB IT Administrators Think They’re Wasting Money Telecommuting: 30% say their organization is spending too much to allow remote working, up from 56% in May.
  • Main security concerns have evolved: The top three concerns are software security exploits (37%, a 2% decrease since May), ransomware (35%, a 7% increase since May) and the use of insecure networks (33%, a drop of 4% since May). In May, the top three concerns for IT administrators were software vulnerabilities (39%), employees using the same username and password in all applications (37%), and using a network unsecured (36%).

The essential role of managed service providers (MSPs)

  • IT administrators continue to see MSPs as critical partners: Today, 87% of respondents said they have already hired an MSP or are considering doing so (compared to 84% in May).
  • MSPs are at the heart of operations: 77% say using an MSP has resulted in better security and 57% say an increase in a better employee experience.
  • MSPs offer a wide range of benefits: Respondents say they use MSPs because they are up to date on the latest technologies (63%), they can offer a better user experience (60%), they are cost effective (54%), they can secure access and better user identities (47%) and they offer strong customer support (32%).

The life of the IT administrator

  • They are not so happy: 42% of IT administrators say they are happier at their jobs than a year ago, but this is a significant drop from the 59% who said they were happier at their job when they were told. asked the same question in May.
  • Compensation may not evolve with increased stress and responsibilities: Since the beginning of the pandemic, 43% say their salaries have stayed the same, and 37% say they have seen an increase. For those who saw an increase, most received an increase of only 5% or less. 24% reported a pay rise of more than 5%, up from 30% in May.
  • Less are overwhelmed: 55% say they feel overwhelmed in terms of professional expectations and responsibilities, compared to 66% in May.

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