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Hybrid teams ditch VPNs over security and productivity concerns, survey says

26 Oct 2022

A HP and Teradici report by found that zero-trust architecture is gaining popularity as workers deal with challenges around traditional VPNs.

The rise of hybrid work may be driving IT teams to ditch VPNs for remote desktops and zero-trust access.

That’s according to a report from HP and its subsidiary Teradici on how hybrid working has influenced companies’ IT practices. It found that many are changing their ways in order to ensure employees who work remotely are not compromising security.

The companies surveyed 8,392 people from all over the world between July and August 2021. There were no respondents from Ireland, but the survey featured professionals in a range of industries such as IT, education, finance and government and military.

The findings have been published in a report titled Securing the Hybrid Workplace in 2022 and beyond.

The vast majority (99pc) of those surveyed in 2021 said their companies would operate on a hybrid basis post-pandemic, with nearly 40pc indicating that more than half of their workforce was expected to work remotely at least twice a week.

But 94pc of respondents suggested that their companies were somewhat concerned about the security of corporate data when employees were working from home.

When asked about their company’s primary method of mitigating corporate data exposure via home-based devices, 41pc said they rely on virtual private network (VPN) technology.

More than half (55pc) are using remote desktop or desktop-as-a-service technology to keep application software and confidential data within the corporate perimeter. Only 4pc were relying on contract terms or personal trust.

Many respondents indicated they are moving away from methods such as VPNs towards remote desktops and zero-trust architecture.

Zero-trust architecture refers to tech that replaces traditional perimeter-based security with a model focused on users, devices, applications and assets.

It is aptly named, since it does not provide blanket access to applications, services and files for all users. Employees can only access the resources needed for a specific task or function. Devices have to undergo verification and authentication checks at several points before accessing company data.

According to the survey, 78pc of respondent are currently implementing or planning a switch to zero-trust architecture in the next two years. A further 19pc are planning to implement, but are unsure when. Just 2pc of respondents did not have any plans to bring in zero-trust access.

For respondents that did rely on VPNs, security was not their sole concern. Productivity was also impacted, with three-quarters reporting user complaints about slow performance or disconnects.

Throughout the shift to remote work, relying on VPNs has been a challenge for 81pc of respondents.

Looking to the future, only 3pc of respondents said they will be relying on VPNs as the primary user authentication method for corporate services and remote desktops. Cloud and on-premises identity services are taking over, according to 80pc of respondents.

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Blathnaid O’Dea
By Blathnaid O’Dea

Blathnaid O’Dea joined Silicon Republic in 2021 as Careers reporter, coming from a background in the Humanities. She likes people, pranking, pictures of puffins – and apparently alliteration.

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