Less than a third of IT teams get hybrid working right

New research shows office-bound networks are holding back the work-from-anywhere revolution

SUNNYVALE, Calif., Nov. 07, 2023 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Remote workers are at risk of becoming the new enterprise underclass as IT departments struggle to adapt networking and security solutions for the hybrid workplace. Less than a third of IT professionals claim to be on top of the issue.

A survey of 354 IT professionals by EMA Research for Cloudbrink, found multiple obstacles to enterprises trying to provide an in-office experience for the hybrid workforce.

Challenges include centralized network architectures, costly hardware deployments, performance-hogging security overlays, and lack of control over how users connect. These factors contribute to growing complexity and heavier workloads for network and security teams.

User productivity is compromised by slow and unreliable network connections, complex login procedures, and longer waits for problems to be fixed.

While most enterprises aim to provide parity of experience for staff regardless of where they work, only 32% claim that they have “fully succeeded” in providing fast, reliable, secure connectivity to WFA staff and 31% admit that performance is worse for remote users.

Shamus McGillicuddy, research director, EMA, said: “The research shows that most IT pros still believe they must choose between a secure solution and a productive one. 46% admitted they prioritize security over performance while only 34% try to optimize both. This is no surprise when you look at who’s calling the shots: the security team tends to lead hybrid work deployments because security remains the number one priority for the enterprise. The bigger problem is that organizations struggle to find technology that can deliver a solution that balances security and productivity.”

Respondents were using a mix of VPN, SD-WAN, SASE, software-defined perimeter (SDP) and ZTNA technology - with an average of 2.3 different solutions deployed per organization.

The report noted a number of different strategies to improve user experience. Most (83%) had moved cloud applications closer to the network edge to improve response times.

Some had extended SD-WAN networks, with 72% deploying network hardware to the homes of staff.

VPN emerged as the most common solution, deployed by 61%, but not the most highly rated: less than half of respondents (46%) regarded VPN as optimal.

Prakash Mana, CEO of Cloudbrink, said: “Enterprises are trying to solve WFA problems with networking technologies born in the data center and branch office. Even solutions designed to provide secure direct access to cloud applications rarely perform at the level office users have come to expect. Local problems with access and connectivity impact response times and limit effective bandwidth. If you’re used to the speed and reliability of the office network, home and mobile connections still seem very primitive.”

The report found that while throwing more VPN bandwidth at the problem helps up to a point, it doesn’t do anything to address last-mile reliability issues. Nearly three-quarters of respondents had put additional hardware, such as SD-WAN routers, in employees’ homes. The report notes this is a costly and inflexible option that adds to the support burden for IT teams.

73% of IT pros responding to the survey reported that supporting remote working had increased their workload. 51% said it had increased mean time to repair for network issues.

The research found that despite the challenges, the hybrid working trend continues upward. Respondents expect nearly half (49%) of staff to work at least some time away from the office by 2025, up from 43% today.

Notes for editors

For further details, see EMA’s summary of the research findings.

Case study: Global 500 Media Company Sees 8x Boost to Remote Worker Experience with Cloudbrink
The full EMA report (Modernizing Network Engineering and Operations in the Era of Hybrid and Remote Work) is available on request.

About Cloudbrink

Cloudbrink brings the industry’s first highest-performance connectivity to the modern hybrid workforce anywhere in the world. The company uses AI and ML to provide edge-native hybrid access as a service (HAaaS). HAaaS delivers accelerated performance for cloud, SaaS, and data center applications.

Cloudbrink’s software-only solution includes the world's first high-performance zero-trust access (ZTA) with personal SD-WAN and Automated Moving Target Defense (AMTD) security. With the ability to use thousands of dynamic PoPs called FAST edges, Cloudbrink provides an in-office experience with a 30x increase in application performance and reduced operational complexity for network, security, and IT administrators.

Based in Sunnyvale, California, the Cloudbrink team has decades of combined expertise in last-mile network connectivity, security, and distributed systems.


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Prakash Mana