IT leaders fear Covid remote work data breach timebomb

IT decision-makers in Irish businesses fear that the shift to remote working masks a bigger data breach crisis in the making, an Equinix study has found.

Two-thirds of IT decision-makers in Ireland feel more susceptible to data breaches due to the IT strain associated with pandemic-driven remote working.

The independent study, commissioned by Equinix, surveyed 127 senior IT decision-makers in Ireland, illustrating the prevailing sentiments pertaining to the security challenges linked to remote working for businesses nationwide.

“Industries are still experiencing teething problems when it comes to managing a remote workforce”

The findings also show how a heightened sense of trepidation around data security is informing the decision making of IT leaders, with almost half (48pc) of companies surveyed in Ireland planning to invest more in data security in the future, as a result of Covid-19.

The survey found that on average, organisations have invested an additional €556,916 in their IT infrastructure in order to maintain secure and efficient operations during the pandemic. The majority (71pc) of IT professionals in Ireland reported their organisation has had to increase IT security due to the rapid shift towards remote working, precipitated by the pandemic.

Managing a remote workforce

Man in blue suit standing in the middle of servers.

Maurice Mortell, managing director for Ireland, Equinix

On the plus side, almost two-thirds (63pc) of those surveyed report that Covid-19 has triggered greater executive-level awareness of, and engagement with, IT strategies.

“While the transition towards remote working has been broadly welcomed by employees, and in most cases facilitated successfully by employers, industries are still experiencing teething problems when it comes to managing a remote workforce,” said Maurice Mortell, managing director of Equinix in Ireland.

“In the GDPR-defined compliance era, companies have had to adjust to tightening regulatory constraints, and have become increasingly cognisant of the implications of data breaches from a financial, reputational and regulatory standpoint. However, the sudden urgency to enable remote working this year has left many businesses feeling susceptible to data breaches.

“Thankfully, the adoption of secure, multicloud solutions can now be executed in a swift and seamless manner, providing a much-needed degree of assurance pertaining to data security. At the same time, private cloud connections can help enterprises navigate the ever-evolving data privacy landscape with a newfound sense of clarity and confidence.”

Equinix’s survey demonstrates how the central role of digital technology in helping businesses to survive and thrive throughout Covid-19 has underlined the strategic importance of the IT department.

And according to analysis from David Cappuccio, distinguished VP analyst, Gartner, and Henrique Cecci, senior director analyst, Gartner: “By 2025, 85pc of infrastructure strategies will integrate on-premises, colocation, cloud and edge delivery options, compared with 20pc in 2020.”

By John Kennedy (john.kennedy3@boi.com)

Published: 1 February 2021