The COVID-19 pandemic only served to accelerate the growing shift to work from anywhere. Due to the forced, but positive, experiment with remote work, many enterprises plan to continue supporting remote work indefinitely.
However, the shift to remote work occurred suddenly, catching many enterprises unprepared. In Cato’s recent WFA Survey, 78% of IT professionals were found to be spending more time supporting the remote workforce since the pandemic outbreak. 47% of participants experienced an increase of at least 25%, and 16% of participants suffered from an increase of over 50%.Get the 2021 Networking Survey Report
Continued IT Challenges
The rapid transition to remote work created a scramble as enterprises tried to suddenly set up remote workforces. And, over a year later, companies are still struggling to effectively support remote work.
One of the primary challenges for enterprises is effectively securing their remote workforce. Nearly half of the respondents say they can’t provide the same level of security to remote users as in the office. This leaves the enterprise vulnerable to phishing and other Internet-borne attacks.
A significant driver of this is the reliance on legacy solutions for secure remote access. Early in the pandemic, the limitations of virtual private networks (VPNs) became plain as a massive increase in remote workers overloaded existing infrastructure. In response, companies adopted workarounds that unfortunately sacrificed enterprise security for performance.
Working from home also has a significant impact on employee productivity. Issues with VPN infrastructure mean that remote users have unstable connections to the corporate network. Additionally, 30% of the respondents claim that application performance is worse when working remotely compared to working from the office. Without the necessary infrastructure to support them, remote workers are not able to perform at their full potential, which hurts the business and its bottom line.
How the Hybrid Working Model Impacts IT
Issues with network connectivity and application performance create additional work for corporate IT departments. The shift to work from anywhere means that support requests, and the time spent on addressing them, have increased dramatically.
The biggest issue faced by IT due to the shift to remote work is that employees no longer have stable, high-performance access to corporate resources. The complexity of addressing these problems has also grown by orders of magnitude. In the past, IT was responsible for ensuring that each branch location had reliable, high-speed access to corporate assets. Now, IT must provide the same guarantees to employees that could be working from anywhere.
The shift to the new hybrid working model has created significant costs for organizations. Poor network and application performance affects employee productivity. And, IT focused on addressing support tickets, lacks the time and resources for infrastructure upgrades and other tasks. Many enterprises have already experienced the increased costs associated with work from home, but may struggle to quantify it.
SASE Gives Enterprises Adaptability
The high costs of work from anywhere stem from the fact that companies are using legacy technologies to support their remote workers. Secure Access Service Edge (SASE) enables the distributed enterprise to achieve the security and performance it needs in a sustainable and scalable way.
SASE converges SD-WAN, network security, and Zero Trust Network Access (ZTNA) into a global, cloud-native service. It optimizes and secures application access for all users and locations. Enterprises that had already adopted SASE were prepared for the pandemic and are ready for the new work from anywhere reality. Employees could connect from anywhere and have their traffic optimally and securely routed to corporate resources.
More enterprises are adopting SASE, which is a positive indication that the industry is moving in the right direction, the SASE direction. In January 2021, 19% were actively planning for a SASE deployment in the next 12 months. Just six months later, this number has increased by more than 10%. In January 2021, only 27% were considering SASE, and six months later, over 40% indicated they were considering SASE.