The majority of UK security leaders have struggled to safeguard their organisations amid the rise of hybrid working and associated security threats, according to new research from Citrix.
The report, The State of Security in a Hybrid World, is based on a survey of 1,250 security decision makers across medium to large organisations in the US, the UK, France, Germany and the Netherlands – including over 200 security leaders in the UK.
Securing the future of work
With end users working from anywhere – in some cases using personal devices to access cloud apps and corporate resources - the attack surface is larger than it has ever been. And many IT organisations are struggling to defend it.
As the study found, nearly three in four (72%) UK security decision makers say procedures and controls have become more complex as their organisations transition to remote and hybrid work, with 71 percent fighting to keep up with the increased volume of security threats that the models create.
Enhancing the employee experience
Employees today want the flexibility to work when, where and how they want using the applications and devices of their choice. In addition to security decision makers, Citrix also polled 3,603 knowledge workers, including over 1,000 in the UK. 70 percent of UK workers said it is “extremely” or “very important” to be able to work remotely or from home, on any device.
Savvy organisations recognise this, with 86% of UK security leaders stating they feel it is extremely or very important to create a seamless employee experience, with nearly nine in 10 (89%) measuring information security’s impact on employee experience and productivity.
“IT organisations are realising that as they embrace hybrid work, their security posture needs to evolve,” said Kurt Roemer, Chief Security Strategist, Citrix. “Rather than traditional command and control-style strategies, they need to take a more intelligent, people-focused approach to security that protects employees without negatively affecting their experience.”
Indeed, 78 percent of UK decision makers polled say the pandemic has created an opportunity to completely rethink their long-term information security strategy with these objectives in mind.
Yet challenges remain for those seeking to work in a more flexible way, with poor connectivity (44%), an inability to get IT support quickly/easily (41%) and navigating technical problems virtually (30%) cited as the main concerns by UK workers.
Investing in the future
Prior to the pandemic, 30 percent of UK security decision makers did not feel prepared for remote work, yet four in five (80%) now feel “very” or “somewhat” prepared to secure a hybrid, remote or at-home workforce. This is likely as a result of increased investment, with 56 percent of leaders claiming investments in security have increased over the last 12 months by an average of 30 percent. 71 percent say their company’s IT environment is now more secure than it was before the pandemic struck.
“Hybrid work is the future of work, and IT will play a critical role in delivering it,” Roemer said. “With the right technology, they can provide consistent, secure and reliable access to the resources employees need to get work done, wherever it needs to get done, and empower them to be and do their best.”