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EMA Research Examines the Strategies Enterprises are Developing to Support the Networking Requirements of Remote and Hybrid Workers

New research from EMA reveals that nearly 94% of enterprises have experienced a permanent increase in the percentage of their employees who work from home on at least a part-time basis since the start of the pandemic

Enterprise Management Associates (EMA™), a leading IT and data management research and consulting firm, today announced the release of its new research report, “Modernizing Network Engineering and Operations in the Era of Hybrid and Remote Work” authored by Shamus McGillicuddy, vice president of research, covering network management at EMA.

Until recently, the option to work at home was primarily a perk rather than a strategic imperative. That paradigm shifted in 2020 with the COVID-19 pandemic. Suddenly, remote work was a business continuity strategy at a time when governments were urging everyone to limit their exposure to potential infection by staying home.

During this time, the world assumed that the global shift to remote work was temporary. The public health response, however, was ultimately a great experiment that proved millions of people could be more productive and enjoy a better work/life balance when they worked from home. Many companies acknowledge this reality by allowing more of their workers to remain home. The typical organization counted just 18% of its workforce as part-time or full-time remote employees prior to the pandemic. Today, that number is nearly 43%, and by 2025, it will climb beyond 49%. EMA research also found that nearly 94% of enterprises have experienced a permanent increase in the percentage of their employees who work from home on at least a part-time basis since the start of the pandemic.

As a result, IT organizations are increasingly finding that they need to evolve their approach to supporting remote and hybrid workers. In particular, network connectivity for people working from home must be reliable, high-performing, and secure, especially for employees who interact directly with customers or work with highly sensitive data. IT organizations must also be flexible enough to support hybrid workers no matter where they are.

Given this major shift in the nature of work, EMA decided to conduct research into how IT organizations are evolving to support the remote and hybrid work boom. The research examines the strategies enterprises are developing to support the networking requirements of remote and hybrid workers, including network connectivity, security, and end-user experience. It explores the infrastructure changes enterprises are making and the tools they are adopting to monitor, troubleshoot, and secure these network services.

Some of the key findings from the report include:

  • Only 32% of organizations have been completely successful in supporting the networking requirements of their remote workers
  • The average organization is using 2.3 solutions for secure remote access, with VPNs (61%) remaining the most popular
  • 87% have allocated budget to update their network monitoring and troubleshooting tools to better support the experience of remote and hybrid workers

“While legacy VPN technology remains a ubiquitous tool for providing secure remote connecting to today’s remote and hybrid workers, secure access service edge and zero trust network access technology are becoming more popular solutions for remote access,” McGillicuddy said. “This is because enterprises are seeking secure remote access solutions that offer integrated network security, centralized management, automated secure connectivity, and network remediation and acceleration capabilities.”