A third of businesses have axed IT staff amidst COVID-19, says study

The study from Leonne, carried out in collaboration with Censuswide, also found that almost half (47%) of companies have frozen their IT budgets for the foreseeable future due to COVID-19 concerns.

Despite these budget restrictions, 41% of surveyed decision makers admitted that their current remote working system isn’t GDPR compliant, and 45% declared expectation of a data breach during the pandemic due to shifts in operation to personal devices.

In addition, 47% have allowed employees to purchase their own laptops and tablets for working from home, as opposed to providing devices from the office, meaning that many employees will not be properly protected or be connected to company IT servers.

Security risks were also brought to light regarding the usage of video conferencing software; 44% of companies said that they were aware of employees using an outdated version of Zoom.

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“It beggars belief that businesses are slashing IT staff at a time when digital skills are so critical for delivering effective remote working systems,” said Andy Harcup, vice-president EMEA at Absolute Software. “It’s also worrying that such a high proportion of companies are allowing employees to share confidential company data on personal devices, using outdated apps, as well as knowingly operating in breach of GDPR rules.

“With thousands of companies ordering brand new laptops and tablet computers to support remote working, it’s also crucial that that companies have the necessary cyber security systems in place to ensure every device using the company network is patched, encrypted and protected from outsider threats.”

Sridhar Iyengar, managing director at Zoho Europe, commented: “Many companies have already discovered that without the right software and apps in place, running important tasks remotely can pose serious challenges. The key to solving this issue is getting access to Software as a Service (SaaS) support, to manage analytics, finance, email and other key business functions through the cloud.

“This approach can keep costs down, replacing outdated manual and on-prem systems with easy to access professional services, which will enable the business to operate smoothly despite the Covid-19 chaos. Employers also need to reskill their staff to work remotely, offering training and mentoring to guide them, especially if new tools and processes are being introduced, for example, ensuring they know how they can collaborate efficiently.

“As for companies expecting data breaches or security issues, this need not be the case if they assess the software vendors they choose to provide services carefully and if they adopt the right IT strategy to protect hardware. It is a simple but vitally important aspect to get right.”

The study surveyed 1,116 senior business decision makers from the UK, US, France and Germany.


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Aaron Hurst

Aaron Hurst is Information Age's senior reporter, providing news and features around the hottest trends across the tech industry.

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