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Tech trends: ICT in the UK today (2)

Infrastructure damaging business 

Two thirds of UK middle market business leaders believe the UK’s infrastructure is hindering economic growth: 64% say it is impacting the local economy in which they operate and 63% says it’s hurting their business. The Real Economy Study by audit, tax and consulting firm RSM also found that 74% of respondents were confident that Government action in the next three years would result in tangible national infrastructure enhancements. 

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Managers a data security threat 

Paucity of in-house resources are seen as a much greater challenge to data security than oft cited risks, such as the insider threat, according to the 2021 Netwrix Cloud Data Security Report. It shows the top challenges to securing sensitive data in the cloud to be lack of IT staff (cited by 52% of CISOs surveyed), insufficient budget (47%) and lack of cloud security expertise (44%). Employee negligence was cited by 38% of respondents, with just 17% identifying the malicious actions of insiders as an issue. A much greater threat, it seems, are senior managers: 48% of CISOs say leaders’ desire for growth is hindering efforts to ensure data security in the cloud; and one in four IT team members complains that executives put pressure on them to accelerate digital transformation to the detriment of data security. The top data security controls being deployed in the cloud are encryption (62%), auditing of user activity (58%) and cloud backups (58%). In addition, 62% of respondents have removed sensitive data from the cloud or are planning to do so — 14% more than last year. www.netwrix.com/2021_cloud_data_ security_report.html

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Remote working drawbacks 

Remote working has been a success, but for many perhaps only a qualified success. In a recent poll by Lifeline IT, two-thirds of employees said they missed having colleagues around, 53% said they wanted a return to physical meetings and four out of 10 said they missed having a structured working day. When it comes to tech, 56% admitted they didn’t have the right desk set-up, 46% struggled to share Wi-Fi with other household members and 44% had problems using online platforms such as Zoom and Microsoft Teams. Almost half (49%) feel there were too many distractions at home, including children and partners (48%) and home schooling (36%). More positively, 91% spent less time travelling/commuting, 51% said they were more productive and 70% enjoyed not having to wear formal clothes. In light of the findings, Lifeline IT has launched a series of podcasts, The Tech Lifeline, for home workers struggling with tech.

www.lifelineit.net

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Bosses and home workers on collision course 

With a return to the office imminent for some and continued home working on the cards for others, audio brand EPOS has identified a big gulf between the expectations of employers and employees. Its Understanding Sound Experience report reveals that while 53% of bosses expect employees to work more from the office, just 26% of employees feel the same way. 

www.eposaudio.com

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The generation gap

A new survey by identity specialist Okta highlights clear generational differences in people’s attitudes to the re-opening of offices:

  • *29% of over 55s want to return to the office full-time, compared to just 13% of 16-34s; 
  • *35% of over 55s would like a hybrid approach, spending some days in the office and others at home, compared to 49% of 16-34s; 
  • *a majority of over 55s would like to keep traditional working hours (57%), whereas a big majority of 16-34s would prefer to work in an asynchronous manner, with no fixed hours and the freedom to choose where and when they work (67%); 
  • *nearly a quarter (23%) of those aged over 55 feel safe returning to the office without any measures in place, compared to only 8% of 16-34s.
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Economic recovery threatened by inflexible contracts 

Lengthy and inflexible contracts are preventing businesses from bouncing back from the pandemic, warns Virgin Media O2 Business, as it launches a new UltimateFlex contract offering anytime cancellation as standard and no installation charges for wholesale customers of its managed ethernet, internet access and high-capacity services. In a survey of 250 senior IT decision-makers, 44% said they were locked into restrictive contracts and 36% said fixed-term contracts were a barrier to operating more flexibly. More than two in five (43%) want the flexibility to end contracts with partners penaltyfree. Mike Hallam, Director of Fixed Wholesale at Virgin Media O2 Business, said: “Businesses are crying out for more flexibility, certainty and value to unlock the power of digital technology and bounce back stronger. After a bruising year, we’re giving partners a leg up with our radical new model which abolishes upfront fees, provides lifetime price confidence and comes with anytime cancellation so they have the tools they need to thrive whatever comes next.” Virgin Media O2, which launched in June 2021, is a 50:50 joint venture between Liberty Global and Telefónica in the UK. It has 47 million connections across broadband, mobile, TV and home phone and offers connectivity services, applications and digital solutions to tens of thousands of UK businesses and public sector organisations, as well as wholesale services to other operators and partners.

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2020