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Cisco Finds Organizations Not Ready to Operate as Usual During Workforce Disruptions


’Securing the Mobile Workforce’ Survey Finds Many Businesses May Be Insufficiently Prepared When Employees Can’t Get to Work

SAN JOSE, Calif. - Cisco today announced the results of its ’Securing the Mobile Workforce’ nationwide survey, conducted last month. The survey shows that while many organizations appreciate the increased employee productivity and other benefits offered by laptop computers, smart phones and virtual private networks, they may be unprepared to enable the majority of their employees to effectively telework during workforce disruptions such as a transit failures or natural disasters. Without the proper networking infrastructures to support remote work by a high percentage of their employees, these organizations risk being unprepared to maintain their operations should a major event prevent individuals from coming into the office for an indefinite period.

The survey, conducted by InsightExpress and commissioned by Cisco, interviewed 502 information technology decision makers from U.S. businesses of all sizes. The survey questioned IT professionals in the health care, retail, finance, government and education sectors.

* More than half (53 percent) of the of the IT executives surveyed said that less than half their employees were currently set up to work remotely and 21 percent said that they have no employees enabled to work remotely.
* Asked why more employees did not have access to the technology that would enable them to work outside the office, 38 percent said that business requirements did not necessitate it.
* Only 22 percent of the respondents feel that their current remote-access solutions have positioned their companies for disaster preparedness and business continuity.
* Just 15 percent of the respondents listed ’pandemic or other disaster preparedness’ as a top business driver for providing remote access to employees, and only 5 percent listed it as the primary business driver.

The Case for Remote Access

The results indicate that the majority of companies are not considering the importance of remote-access solutions for potential business interruptions, focusing more on business needs under normal conditions. In most cases, the cost to implement remote access across an entire workforce is a fraction of what the loss of business would be if employees could not work remotely during a crisis.

* Organizations, however, do understand the benefits of telework: 71 percent of the survey respondents said that employee productivity is a key business driver for providing remote access, and 55 percent reported that enabling efficient and competitive business operations was a key driver for offering remote access.
* Of those who had adopted mobility and remote-access technology, 62 percent said that it had resulted in increased employee productivity, with 57 percent noting an increase in employee satisfaction and 42 percent seeing a reduction in overhead costs.
* Results varied somewhat by industry, with businesses in the health care and finance industries being better prepared, in general, for a pandemic or other disaster situation than those in the retail, education and government sectors.

Supporting Quotes:

* Fred Kost, director, security solutions marketing, Cisco

“Secure remote access and business continuity go hand-in-hand. Technology that enables employees beyond the traditional workplace to connect securely to the corporate network is a win-win for both themselves and employers. Keeping your network up-to-date with the latest security technology in preparation for unforeseen events is essential, although this survey clearly shows that many enterprises still have a ways to go. Yet the benefit has become apparent. Companies that have made secure remote access broadly available have realized improved efficiency and continuity of operations.”

* Jeff Neronha, IT manager in charge of network engineering and operations, City of San Antonio

“Equipping our staff with the technology to work securely from a remote location has greatly enhanced the continuity of our operation. While this technology was initially adopted to help individual workers who, from time to time, are unable to come into the office, it has proven to be a valuable tool for the business as a whole. During certain times of year, events such as severe weather or peak flu season tend to keep large numbers of workers out of the office. At these times we are reminded that remote technology is not just convenient but critical to our business operation, allowing workers to communicate and share documents with a high degree of security from multiple locations.”

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