IT heads say data leaks in the home will cause the biggest security headache over the next two years as hybrid working arrangements see employees buying and installing their own technology, according to new research by Brother UK.
More than a third (34%) of the respondents cited the issue as their top concern as more decentralised purchasing decisions for devices such as laptops, printers and scanners are creating more data vulnerabilities.
The research, which surveyed 500 IT leads working for UK businesses, found that just 13% expect employees to be in the office full time over the next two years.
Work to minimise security risks was signalled by almost a quarter (23%) of respondents anticipating that office technology would be centrally procured with employees purchasing home tech from approved supplier lists over the next two years, up from 19% that currently have this procurement model.
However, 11% of IT leads said they expect all office and home technology to be procured by employees on their own over the same period, compared to 5% that currently operate in this way, which could signal some additional challenges for security in the future.
Other top concerns included data security in the office (27%), network security for remote workers (13%) and accountability (12%).
Mike Mulholland, head of services and solutions at Brother UK, said: “The immediate challenge for IT leads in managing people working from home is ensuring that the technology connected to business systems is secure.
“This is part of a wider opportunity for the channel, as they help customers respond to new challenges from the workforce becoming more dispersed, by providing new solutions and services.
“But it’s important that suppliers consult with clients on balancing the efficiencies gained from decentralised procurement against the security and integration that’s more assured from centralised decision making.
“Helping customers to build lists of approved technology for employees to procure from may pay dividends in productivity and security benefits.
“It will also be important for IT vendors and partners to advise when managed services can offer the best outcomes for businesses. Managed print services, for example, gives IT managers full oversight of print fleets wherever they may be, enabling them to manage security settings, firmware updates, and diagnostics from afar.”
Overall, the research found security to be the top priority for IT heads. Almost two-thirds (63%) saw the issue to be as being ‘very important’ over the next two years, compared to 52% that said the same for productivity, 50% for cost-efficiency and 48% for sustainability. Nearly half (49%) associate security with business resilience, while two-thirds (66%) said they are currently working towards improving their IT security in order to underpin resilience.