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Work From Home (WFH), Remote Devices and IT Support Trends

Amid the coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis, businesses such as food service and retail have been unable to operate in a fully virtual environment -- but others that typically shun teleworking have successfully acclimated to the new normal, a new study of 6,000 people by anti-virus provider PC Matic found.

PC Matic’s COVID-19 Work From Home Trends research found that slightly more than 40 percent of the survey group have been working remotely because of COVID-19 and continued to do so throughout the research period in May, 2020.

Here are some additional findings:

On employer-issued devices for work.

  • 61% of remote employees were using personal devices as their primary method to access company networks.
  • Of the 39% that were issued a device by their employer, roughly 25% said they used it for more than work.

“If and when malware finds its way into these devices, it can easily spread to the company’s network these employees are accessing,” PC Matic said.

On personal devices used for work provided with an antivirus solution.

  • 93% of the study group said their employers did not provide them with an antivirus solution to install on their personal device used for work.

“In normal working conditions, bringing an un-managed device onto a corporate network is either not allowed or would raise flags inside IT very quickly,” the survey reads.

On security training for remote workers.

  • 22% received additional security training from their employer.
  • Roughly 40% are using a VPN while working from home.
  • 17% said they were not sure.

“Educating the user can drastically reduce the risk that a business faces as they are almost always the first line of defense for an attack,” PC Matic said. “It’s important to note that not everyone needs to be using a VPN, however, if a connection to the workplace is critical, a VPN is strongly recommended.”

On IT support services for remote workers.

  • 51% of businesses provided IT support to employees transitioning from office work to home.
  • 53% of employers provide IT support service throughout the teleworking experience.

“In order to maintain a normal working environment, it’s important for businesses to continue to provide IT support services to employees who are working virtually,” PC Matic said. “Many employees may not be able to navigate IT issues without additional support and can become stranded while in transition or while working from home.

On best practices.
“Businesses should supply corporate devices that are managed and secured,” the report reads. “Vulnerable devices and untrained users can present a drastically increased risk level to the entire business whether they are working in the office, or at home," PC Matic said.

“While we continue to be unsure of the future of 2020 and the COVID-19 outbreak in the United States, businesses have the opportunity to be proactive and begin preparing for the potential that stay at home orders could be issued again later in the year,” the anti-virus provider said. “The first lockdown caught many by surprise and required businesses to be reactive in order to keep their operations running, however, we now have the opportunity to be proactive and prepared for the future.”

D. Howard Kass

D. Howard Kass is a contributing editor to MSSP Alert. He brings a career in journalism and market research to the role. He has served as CRN News Editor, Dataquest Channel Analyst, and West Coast Senior Contributing Editor at Channelnomics. As the CEO of The Viewpoint Group, he led groundbreaking market research.