Telecommuting Adoption Up; Security Still A Concern - InformationWeek

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4/1/2008
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Telecommuting Adoption Up; Security Still A Concern

A CDW survey shows that private sector telecommuting adoption is on the rise (14%) and catching up to the adoption rates of federal employees (17%).

Private and public sector IT professionals are expanding telecommuting initiatives and those initiatives help boost recruitment and retention, but security must improve, a recent survey found.

CDW Corp. announced this week that a national survey shows that private sector telecommuting adoption is on the rise (14%) and catching up to the adoption rates of federal employees (17%).

The survey of 1,800 federal and private sector IT professionals and employees found that 76% of private-sector employers provide technical support for remote workers, up 27 percentage points over 2007. Fifty-six percent of federal IT professionals said their agencies provide IT support for telecommuters. Federal IT support for telecommuting has grown 23% since 2005, according to CDW.

"The private sector is solidly embracing telework," Ken Grimsley, VP of strategic sales for CDW, said in a statement released with the survey results. "Continuity of operations alone could justify the investment, and improved employee satisfaction is icing on that cake. Still, many businesses remain unprepared for recovery from disruptions or are failing to take advantage of affordable, advanced security technologies that are justifiable even without telework. We have a long way to go."

Forty-two percent of federal IT professionals ranked security as a top priority, compared to 27% of private-sector IT professionals. Eighty-four percent of federal IT professionals and 88% of private-sector IT professionals reported that their organization has effective security procedures and systems.

Fifty-six percent of federal agencies and 74% of private-sector employers authenticate telecommuters individually, in addition to confirming which devices are accessing their networks, the survey found.

However, 21% percent of federal employees and 31% of private-sector employees said they are unaware of their organization's security policies.

While technical support for telecommuters increased, the percentage of federal employees eligible to work remotely decreased to 40% from a high of 55% in 2006. CDW said the decrease coincides with concern about IT security.

The 2008 CDW Telework Report revealed that telecommuting programs could increase business continuity, while also improving employee recruitment and retention.

Fifty percent of federal employees and 40% of private-sector employees said that having a choice to telecommute would influence decisions to remain with an employer or accept a new job. Over half of federal employees who said they could work through emergency, disaster, or other disruption said they are eligible to telecommute. More than 70% of private sector employees who could continue working through a disruption said their company has a telecommuting program.

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