45% of IT security professionals aren’t ready for their organisations to return to work from their offices

COVID-Driven Work Changes Created Turbulence For IT Security Stakeholders, Prompting Shifts in IT Priorities, Global Survey Shows

  • IT security professionals noted a near-universal shift to work from home; only a third said it was “smooth”
  • Cloud infrastructure investments, access request, identity/access lifecycle management, identity process and workflow, and role management technologies all saw increased priority among at least half of security teams
  • Thirty-one percent said COVID caused the increased priority for cloud infrastructure investments and access request technologies

A newly released global survey reveals IT and security team attitudes regarding their responses to COVID-19-driven work environment changes. The One Identity-commissioned research, which surveyed 1216 IT security stakeholders between August 20 and September 3, 2020, shed insight into IT best practices that have emerged in recent months, and how organisations rushed to adopt them to maintain a secure and efficient virtual workplace.

According to the survey, IT security professionals universally (99%) said their organisations transitioned to remote work because of COVID-19, and only a third described that transition as “smooth.” Better than six in ten (62%) respondents indicated that cloud infrastructure is more important now than 12 months ago. Thirty-one percent attributed this shift directly to COVID-19. The cloud has become front and center to the new working reality, creating flexibility for employees. These results demonstrate that the previous level of attention to cloud deployments, while notable, does not appear to have been nearly enough to accommodate the dramatic computing shift across organisations.

“This research makes it clearly evident that cloud computing has been a lifesaver for many enterprises as IT teams pivoted and supported the massive shift to working away from offices,” said Darrell Long, president and general manager at One Identity. “While we knew the pandemic-driven changes were sudden, what was particularly notable was how strongly the results proved that organisations had to turn their focus on the immediate challenges presented by the aggressive move to cloud computing, chiefly finding solutions that streamlined administering and securing who has access to what and how.”

Shifts in priorities indicate organisations are turning their focus on tackling the security basics. When compared to 12 months ago, 50% of respondents are placing a higher priority on access request technologies, and 31% said this change in prioritization is because of COVID.

Identity/access lifecycle management, identity process and workflow, and role management all saw increased priority among at least half of those surveyed.

Perhaps shell shocked, only 45% of IT security professionals indicated they are prepared for the IT changes necessary when their employees move back to organisations’ offices, according to survey results. Yet, two thirds (66%) expressed increased confidence in the effectiveness of their identity management programs post COVID-based changes.

“We now know the truth: the COVID pandemic did not change the need to be productive, nor did it change the regulatory compliance requirements companies face, but clearly IT and security teams scrambled to shift their systems to accommodate work from home in a secure and controlled way,” said Long. “Companies and organisations were helped to an extent by cloud investments that prepared them pre-COVID. However, most of them are still dealing with new challenges as employees adapt, IT and security teams effectively respond to the challenge of providing effective processes for gaining access to the resources needed for the workforce to do their jobs and security challenges associated with this new working environment.”

An in-depth analysis of the survey study – “And the Survey Says: Insights gained from the annual One Identity Global Survey” presented by Todd Peterson, IAM Evangelist – will be presented during the live session of One Identity’s UNITE virtual user and partner conference, starting at 11 am EST/5 pm CET on November 10, 2020. Registration is free through the online site.

About the 2020 One Identity Global Survey: “Identity Governance and Administration for the New Computing Normal”

Conducted by Dimensional Research, One Identity’s 2020 Identity Management and Governance study surveyed IT security professionals from midsize and large enterprises on their current experiences, trends and approaches to Identity Governance and Administration (IGA) and Application Lifecycle Management attitudes – especially in regard to responding to COVID-19-driven work environment changes . The study consisted of an online survey of IT professionals in midsize or large organisations with responsibility for security and who are very knowledgeable about IAM and privileged accounts. A total of 1,216 individuals from the U.S., Canada, U.K., Germany, France, BeNeLux, Nordics, Australia, Singapore and Hong Kong completed the survey. Responses were captured between August 20, 2020 and September 3, 2020.

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