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Security Slows and Help Desk Woes: User Complaints are Rising

By Drew Robb

It comes as no surprise to hear that surveys show users are fed up with security tools and would rather suffer in silence than contact the help desk. Take my own case. I counted more than 200 different logins, passwords, codes, pins and authentication methods I currently own. It has gotten past the point of manageability. In this age of remote work, users are often not allowed to configure their own security tools or delete an application from their laptop – both require admin privileges reserved for IT and the help desk.

A survey by NetMotion, taken from 500 remote enterprise employees in the U.S. and UK, found that two-thirds believe security products make their job harder. 58% said these tools are detrimental to productivityThis creates several undesirable outcomes. Some just get sloppy and don't pay much attention to security anymore. They cease to take any responsibility for security, as "IT handles that."

Employees circumvent security

In other cases, savvy workers develop workarounds that would be considered illegal by IT, and perhaps open the door to risk. 61% of remote workers admitted to using tools outside of official company policy. This shadow IT environment of unsanctioned tools used by remote workers is primarily comprised of productivity apps (Google Docs and Doodle) and collaboration or messaging apps (WhatsApp and Zoom).

"The past eight months have revealed fundamental blind spots in the way many IT teams have traditionally monitored the digital experiences of remote workers," said Christopher Kenessey, CEO of NetMotion.

His company advocates digital experience monitoring to help IT teams gain more visibility into - and be able to improve - the remote user experience.

Help desk overburdened

Nearly 75% of organizations report an increase in support tickets from remote workers since the start of the pandemic. This is straining already stretched IT teams.

Those using remote help desks complain of delays, poor diagnosis, and unresolved issues. One in four IT teams have been found to be struggling to correctly assign the root causes to problems of remote workers. Reliable network performance was cited as the top challenge, coming up in about half of all remote worker complaints. Further hassles include software and application issues (43%), cybersecurity (43%), and hardware performance and configuration (38%).

NetMotion's survey also found that 26% of remote employees didn't feel that their feedback on support issues would change anything. That might be one reason why 58% said they had encountered IT issues but did not share them with IT. They just decided to put up with them.

"A quarter of remote workers would rather suffer in silence than engage tech teams," said Kenessey. "Without dedicated tools to monitor the experience of remote and mobile workers, IT teams are at a disadvantage when diagnosing and resolving technology challenges, and that’s putting greater strain on the IT-business relationship."

Such problems, though, are far from the norm. Some help desks go out of their way to be responsive and to rapidly resolve issues. But help desks will need to be a greater focus if remote workforces outlive the pandemic, as many are predicting.

This article was originally published on 12-29-2020