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IT Communication Breakdowns Lead To Higher Data Security Risks

Gartner recently reported that 47 percent of organizations plan to continue to operate fully remotely after COVID-19.

In light of this finding, mobile management software firm NetMotion surveyed 500 IT professionals and 500 remote workers in the U.S. and U.K. to better understand the dynamic between remote employees and IT.

The survey, conducted in September 2020, found that 82 percent of businesses used monitoring tools to gain insight into the remote work experience. However, 27 percent of the time IT teams were still unable to remotely diagnose the root cause of a technical problem and only 45.6 percent of issues reported to IT were resolved satisfactorily.

Twenty-five percent of respondents said they felt IT departments did not value their feedback. Of the 66 percent of remote workers who said they experienced an IT problem, 57.5 percent did not notify IT.

The survey also found that 62 percent of employees had used "rogue applications" instead of following their organization's official IT policy. Thirty-eight percent used productivity apps such as Google Docs and Doodle, and 32 percent used communication software such as WhatsApp and Zoom.

NetMotion concluded that IT's failure in three key areas—not having visibility into remote workers' activities; failing to diagnose the root cause of problems; and a negative perception of IT among employees—is contributing to a "burgeoning IT-employee divide." Owen Hughes "Remote working is driving a wedge between employees and IT support" techrepublic.com (Oct. 13, 2020).

Commentary

According to the survey, 62 percent of employees used rogue applications and that when there were problems with their machines, more than 55 percent of remote workers did not notify IT.

Victims uploading malware believed to be a useful application is one common means cybercriminals use to gain access to an organizational device and possibly a network.

Remote workers who have issues, perhaps from malware, are less likely to communicate with IT, allowing the malware more time to access valuable data.

Limiting data theft starts with employees willing to communicate when they are experiencing issues.

Clearly state in your written handbook what employees should do if they experience an IT issue while working remotely. State that they should notify the IT department, rather than trying to address a potential cyberattack on their own.

Also, emphasize during training the importance of immediately notifying the IT department if employees experience a device slowdown, unanticipated operations, increased popups, or other signs of malware. Train IT employees to actively listen to employees and work cooperatively with them so that employees feel heard and respected by your IT team.

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