Cisco Survey Reveals Organizations Not Ready for Disruptions

A study commissioned by Cisco Systems Inc., entitled Securing the Mobile Workforce, revealed that a majority of organizations may be unprepared to enable their remote and mobile workforce in the event of a disruption such as a natural disaster or a transportation failure.


The study, which was conducted by InsightExpress, a Stamford, CT-based researcher, consisted of interviews of 502 IT decision makers from all sizes of businesses in the health care, financial and retail industries, as well as the government and education sectors.


The survey's findings suggested that without the proper infrastructure to support remote work by a significant percentage of employees, many businesses risk not being able to conduct operations as usual should an event hinder people from going to work.


Research findings indicated that enabling a remote workforce is not a high priority for IT executives. Some 53 percent of those interviewed in the survey said that less than half of their employees were set up to work remotely and 21 percent said that none of their workers did so.


Slightly less than 40 percent said that their business did not dictate having to enable employees from remote locations. Moreover, only 22 percent felt confident that their current remote access solutions prepared them to continue operations in a disaster situation. Only a small percentage (15 percent) believed that disaster preparation was a sufficient reason to provide remote access to employees.


The study did point to the high value that IT executives placed on employee productivity and, of those that had adopted mobility and remote access, most (62 percent) said that it had resulted in higher productivity among their workers, with the associated benefits of boosting employee satisfaction and reducing overhead costs.


Cisco said the survey results varied somewhat by industry, with the health care and financial industries better prepared for disaster than the retail, education or government segments.


The vendor observed from the survey's results that companies perhaps are not sufficiently heeding the call to enable remote access solutions to prepare for unexpected business interruptions.


"IT departments should take note--secure remote access and business continuity go hand-in-hand," said Fred Kost, Cisco director of security solutions marketing.


"Technology that lets workers outside the office securely connect to the corporate network is a win for employees and employers. Preparing your network now in the event of unforeseen events is good business practice but as this survey shows, many enterprises today have a long way to go."

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