While IT teams are successfully managing hybrid-remote work, they are still burdened with a lot of tools despite a strong preference for more centralized IT management, according to JumpCloud. Almost half of employees now need six or more tools to get their job done, but a majority prefer a single tool.

IT teams managing hybrid-remote work

External events like the war in Ukraine and uncertainty in financial markets add to the operational concern of the IT teams. IT admins are dedicated to their jobs and responsibilities even though they feel overwhelmed by them.

Business outlook

Almost half of the workers are back in the office. 42% of workers are in the office full time in 2022. Compared to a year ago, hybrid workers are down to 32.5%, and remote workers are down to 24.8%.

1655775324 42 How tool sprawl is becoming a common issue for SMEs - Home Office 4US

Business is being impacted by the world economic issues. Supply chain disruptions and product shortages have hurt their business. 57.6% say labor shortages have been an issue for their business, and 5.1% say it has been a serious business limitation.

The US has labor shortages more than the UK does. In the US, 37.1% of respondents report that labor shortages have been significant or a serious business problem, while 25% in the UK report the same.

Business is impacted by the war in Ukraine. The war in Ukraine has had an impact on their organization. The war in Ukraine has increased the focus of the organization on security. In the US, 64.4% agree the war has increased their organization’s focus on security.

Security

Security is the biggest challenge in the foreseeable future. 59.4% said security was their top challenge, followed by device management and migrating workers to fully or partially remote.

The majority of organizations require the use of facial recognition for employee verification. 55.9% of the population currently need to have their fingerprints done. More than two thirds of admins reported that they had implemented some kind of security device.

A growing challenge is balancing security and user experience. Adding security measures generally means a more cumbersome user experience according to 66.1%, an increase from 58.1% who said the same in 2021.

There are outside threats. Network attacks, ransomware and software vulnerabilities are the three biggest security concerns. Software vulnerability exploits, use of the same password across applications, and use of the same networks were the top three things done in the year.

It’s seen that patch management is successful. The organization’s patch management strategy is enough to protect against known vulnerabilities. In terms of patch timing, 60.1% are patching within seven days and over one-third are patching asap.

Patch management is not random. A security staff member is dedicated to identifying vulnerabilities and performing fixes as well as managing the execution, mitigation, and patching of patches. According to the patch release dates, 46.7% follow the schedules.

Users are left responsibility by many. The user is responsible for patch management when prompted.

Single sign-on is heating up. In terms of adoption, 33.9% use it across their entire organization, 35.6% use it for a limited number of apps or devices, and 17.95% use it for collaboration tools. Only a small percentage of IT admins had already implemented SSO.

There is strong interest in passwordless. 62.6% of them agreed that passwordless authentication is a priority for the company.

The importance of passwordless isn’t sold by IT admins. Passwordless Authentication is more of an industry buzzword than an IT priority. 23.6% of the people disagreed.

It’s difficult to implement biometrics as they are seen as secure. The top answer when ranking the most secure step was fingerprints, but it was also seen as the hardest to implement.

OTP will likely stick around. OTPs are seen as the easiest to use, the second most secure, and the easiest to deploy when ranked.

IT admins use their fingerprints. 74.5% of people use their fingerprints, face recognition, voice recognition, and liveness detection to secure their device.

IT management

Migrating workers to remote or hybrid work is still a challenge. It is one of the biggest challenges for the IT team over the last year, compared to the same period in 2021.

IT admins are happy and not overwhelmed. 60.4% say they are happier in their job than a year ago, compared to 56.5% who say the same. In the year of 2022, 59.4% are somewhat or very overwhelmed compared to 66.9% in the year of 2011.

Heterogeneity and a little heavier on Windows continue to plague device breakdown. In April of 2021, the combination was 58.2% Windows, 24.6% macOS, and 20.6% Linux.

Inflation and recession concerns loom. Some people are doing recession planning, while others are either considering it or think it is a good idea. 5.1% say inflation doesn’t worry them, and 70.4% say it’s a big worry, and 8.1% think it’s a threat.

There’s a risk with tool creeps. Almost all of the teams use two to three tools to manage the employee lifecycle.

Life of IT admin

It’s easier to manage work that is remote. It is as easy to manage remote/ hybrid workforces as it is fully in-person workforces. 55.8% of admins said that ongoing management of remote workers was the biggest challenge.

A centrally managed IT tool is desirable. The percentage of people who agree that they would prefer to use a single solution/tool to do their job has gone up.

There are a number of tools used by the IT teams. Employees need three to five tools to do their job, according to IT admins.

Managed service providers (MSPs)

As essential partners, the SMEs see the MSPs. Almost all of them say they currently use or are considering an MSP. Almost one-third of the SMEs use one to completely manage the IT program, though they are most commonly used to support their internal IT team.

Knowledge, cost-savings, and user experience are some of the benefits MSP has. The top three reasons for IT teams to use a Managed Services Provider are that they are up to date on the latest technologies, can provide a better user experience, and are cost-effective.

There is a wide range of functions that the MSPs are deployed for. Cloud storage, system security, system management, and system monitoring are some of the things that the SMEs rely on the most.

For efficiency, security, user experience, and overall support, MSPs are essential. 70% say use of an MSP has resulted in better security, 53% report a better employee experience, 37% say it makes their IT jobs easier, and 33% say it makes them more effective at managing IT.

IT independence, overtooling, and cost are some of the biggest barriers to implementation. The top reasons for not using MSPs are that they are too expensive, they prefer to handle IT themselves, and that they offer more than they need.

IT admins are cautious about the security of their businesses. Despite high integration with MSPs, over one-third of respondents who work with an MSP have concerns about how their MSP manages security.

The US admins rely on the same people more than the UK admins. 34% of people in the US say that an IT program, including technology, process, and support, is managed by a managed service provider, compared to 20% in the UK. In the US, 9% of admins don’t plan to work with MSPs.

The admins in the US are more concerned with security. More US admins report concerns about MSP safety than UK admins.

Geographical differences

The UK is unhappy with their job and sees more challenges. Of the UK admins, 15.2% disagreed that they were happier in their job than the US admins. It is not as easy to manage remote/ hybrid workforces in the UK as it is in the US, according to more UK respondents. The UK admins had more budget decreases than US admins.

Both sides of the pond had the same roadblocks for IT products. No single product out there that will meet all needs, not wanting to be dependent on a single product, and too much existing infrastructure were the top three reasons not to consolidate.

US admins are more cautious about passwordless than UK admins. Passwordless is more of a buzzword in the US compared to the UK.

Employees of the US are required to use more tools. In the US, 42% of admins think employees need six or more tools to do their job, compared to 39.3% in the UK.

Users are left with less security management by UK admins. In regards to enabling employee access to resources, 17.8% of the US say all accounts are unmanaged, while only 9% of the UK say that.

“From complicated tech stacks to the downstream impact of global events, IT admins are working to secure and simplify workflows in less-than-ideal circumstances,” said Rajat Bhargava, CEO, Jump Cloud.

As IT teams sound the alarm about increased threats, they should be aware of the fact that these professionals are unnecessarily juggling a bloated tech stack that isn’t efficient or cost-effective and that introduces unnecessary risk. While SMEs look to invest more in IT infrastructure, a platform approach can improve employee experience and productivity, and provide safe access to critical applications and data, all for a lower TCO than bespoke point solutions.