New research shows that IT departments struggle to adapt networking and security solutions for the hybrid workplace.
A survey conducted by EMA Research for Cloudbrink of 354 IT professionals found companies are having multiple obstacles trying to provide an in-office experience for the hybrid workforce.
Less than a third of IT companies claim to be on top of the issue: Only 32% say that they have “fully succeeded” in providing fast, reliable, secure connectivity to work-from-home staff.
According to the research, even 31% admit that performance is worse for remote users.
And what are the usual challenges? Centralized network architectures, costly hardware deployments, performance-hogging security overlays, and lack of control over how users connect.
These factors contribute to growing complexity and heavier workloads for network and security teams.
User productivity is compromised by slow and unreliable network connections, complex login procedures, and longer waits for problems to be fixed.
73% of respondents reported that supporting remote work had increased their workload. 51% said it had increased mean time to repair for network issues.
The research found that despite the challenges, the hybrid working trend continues upward. Respondents expect nearly half (49%) of staff to work at least some time away from the office by 2025, up from 43% today.
The research director of EMA, Shamus McGillicuddy, said: “The research shows that most IT pros still believe they must choose between a secure solution and a productive one.”
“46% admitted they prioritize security over performance while only 34% try to optimize both. The bigger problem is that organizations struggle to find technology to deliver a solution that balances security and productivity.”
Respondents used a mix of VPN, SD-WAN, SASE, software-defined perimeter (SDP), and ZTNA technology – with an average of 2.3 different solutions deployed per organization.
The report noted several different strategies to improve user experience. 83% had moved cloud applications closer to the network edge to improve response times. Some had extended SD-WAN networks, with 72% deploying network hardware to staff homes.
VPN emerged as the most common solution, deployed by 61%, but not the most highly rated: less than half of respondents (46%) regarded VPN as optimal.