At the onset of the global pandemic, organizations quickly transitioned to remote work and IT played a significant role in their ability to do so effectively and efficiently. With employees working in different locations, cybersecurity increasingly became a primary concern and IT departments worked tirelessly to ensure the workforce remained secure. Organizations significantly ramped up digital capabilities and introduced new tools into daily operations to ensure employees could successfully and securely operate in their roles, regardless of their location.
While IT professionals were involved in organizational success in the times before, the pandemic has cemented the fact that IT can no longer be viewed as playing a supporting role. So, why is there still a disconnect? As cybersecurity concerns continue to rise, why are IT professionals often overlooked in these conversations?
We continue to witness a spike in cybersecurity risks, with cyberthreats increasing at a rapid pace. To dive deeper into this trend we recently surveyed Canadians to analyze their sentiment of IT security in respect to the pandemic and the future of work. The survey found that Canadians are experiencing a range of cybersecurity concerns, with 67 percent of working Canadians citing data leakage, identity theft and/or hackers, 66 percent citing malware and 58 percent citing phishing scams as their top cybersecurity concerns across devices. Without IT professionals, organizations would not be equipped to mitigate these concerns and the risks would be substantially heightened. Yet, IT departments continue to be underappreciated within their organizations.
Our survey found that 92 percent of employees felt that their IT department was important during the pandemic and in the transition to remote work, yet 21 percent said their IT department was overall not very appreciated or not appreciated at all. This indicates that while the initial awareness seems to underscore how important IT teams are, 21 percent is a concerningly high number in terms of general underappreciation.
One reason IT professionals are often overlooked and underappreciated is due to a lack of general understanding of the crucial role they provide. Organizations’ IT departments work tirelessly to prevent issues from arising and the fact that they often fly under the radar means they are doing this successfully. Unfortunately, this also means IT departments tend to go unnoticed unless an issue arises. Until this happens, the connection between cybersecurity and the IT professional is not top of mind.
The Path Forward
To address the gaps in understanding and appreciation, organizations need to build awareness of the critical role of cybersecurity and IT professionals to ensure remote work does not compromise security. Lunch-and-Learns, Did-You-Know internal sessions or even an Ask-Me-Anything with the IT department are all informative and engaging ways to learn. Increasing awareness of the value of cybersecurity, IT professionals, and the relationship between them will help develop a greater understanding and, ultimately, greater appreciation for this function.
To learn more about our survey findings or to talk to one of our cybersecurity experts about your security needs, visit cdw.ca/security.