Survey finds almost total support for benefits of remote working

Remote working is increasing in popularity, with 98 percent stating that it is advantageous to their organisation and nearly two thirds predicting it will soon become the norm in most organisations, according to new research.

The study commissioned of 500 IT decision makers in the UK and Germany by global data storage and information security company Imation Corp found 96% of companies surveyed allowed remote working and around three in five said they believed that remote working has increased employee motivation due to greater flexibility (62 percent) and led to increased productivity as employees can work from multiple locations (61 percent).

The most common methods of remote working recorded were home working (62 percent); BYOD (Bring Your Own Device, 51 percent) and VDI (Virtual desktop infrastructure, 46 percent). On top of this, around a third (32 percent) of respondents’ organisations have employees that are working from client sites.

Despite the shift in attitude, data breaches and business costs are still amongst the biggest concerns for organisations when weighing up the value of remote working, with nine in ten (92 percent) organisations highlighting that remote working causes challenges or concerns.

A third of respondents stressed data security as a top fear when considering remote working practices. Over half (54 percent) are worried about data losses through misplaced devices, whilst 61 percent worry about insider threats and the potential for employees to expose the organisation to the risk of a data breach or loss.

Some 42 percent of organisations also admitted that they are unable to keep track of what data employees take with them away from the office – with employees still using potentially unsecure methods such as printing information out on paper (31 percent) and emailing files to themselves (27 percent).

Despite the growing popularity of remote working, around four in 10 of respondents’ organisations do not currently have a remote working policy that covers IT security considerations – and only 21 percent of organisations enforce, or plan to enforce, their remote working policy via IT processes. Some 67 percent of organisations believe their employees are breaking the organisation’s security rules in order to work remotely. Over half of respondents say that the data employees take away from the office could be more adequately secured.

Some 45 percent cite concerns about the cost of providing the technology to enable remote working. Some 72 percent say that the use of a work laptop is the most likely method of taking digital files away from the office.

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