Survey: Remote Worker Security Concerns

SonicWALL: Managers believe in motivational benefits of remote working but worry about productivity, team bonding and data security

SUNNYVALE, Calif. -- According to a survey of more than 1,100 managers by secure infrastructure firm SonicWALL (Nasdaq: SNWL - News;, business leaders and managers are becoming more comfortable with their staff working remotely, although concerns remain about the impact of the remote work force on employee productivity, effective teambuilding and computer security.

The survey of management views on remote working, sponsored by SonicWALL, Inc. and conducted in the U.S. and Australia by online marketing research firm InsightExpress, indicates more than half of the respondents believe that offering their employees the ability to work remotely is a competitive necessity or at minimum a motivating perk for employees. More than a third of the 1,184 managers surveyed have employees that work out of the office more than 20% of the time. The chief reasons to change their minds among managers with no formal remote worker policy in place are: employee motivation (26%); cost of office space (15%); rising gas prices (14%); and traffic or weather conditions (14%).

Half of poll takers also reported that their firms have formal remote worker policies in place. But despite this growing support for offsite working, business leaders identified several concerns unique to managing a remote work force. The top three anxieties -- each reported by more than 20% of respondents -- included:

  • Worry over whether their remote workers will remain productive, in spite of the fact that more managers - 34% -- believe remote workers are more productive rather than equally or less productive than their in-office peers;
  • Challenges to building strong teams, with 15% believing remote workers are missing out on an aspect of the job by not being in the office;
  • And concerns about potential security breaches resulting from remote access, especially top-of-mind for almost a quarter of respondents who had no policy in place for securing remote access.

"Our findings confirm that the majority of IT managers need to reassess their plans for safely connecting remote workers to corporate network resources," said Steve Franzese, vice president of marketing at SonicWALL. "In our 2006 survey of remote workers, we found that security rated very low on their priority list. It's therefore incumbent upon IT administrators to deploy flexible and practical secure remote access technology that enforces strict security but is easy to manage and even easier for remote employees to use."

SonicWall Inc. (Nasdaq: SNWL)

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Jai Vijayan, Contributing Writer, Dark Reading
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