IT pros unsure of security risks when using remote support tools

Research from Bomgar and Ovum surveyed 300 IT decision-makers across the UK, France and Germany, focusing on the challenges faced by enterprise companies that provide remote support to users who are becoming increasingly more mobile.

With the continued rise of BYOD initiatives, and mobile employees using varied devices such as tablets and smartphones, a new set of support and security challenges has arisen for IT.

While remote access tools can significantly improve IT support efficiency and effectiveness, they are also a major source of data breaches in the enterprise. Vulnerabilities in the tools themselves or misuse of access credentials create obvious vectors of attack.

As mobile and remote working increases and businesses use more third-party vendors and services providers to manage aspects of their systems, the need to understand, manage and address the risks posed by remote access tools becomes ever more important.

Key statistics from the research included:

  • Nearly 25 per cent of all workers for the respondents were classified as mobile to some degree, including remote and teleworkers. Businesses across the UK, France and Germany signalled that they would be increasing their level of support for remote and teleworkers over the next 18 months.
  • Remote support technology is commonly used to fix issues with traditional PCs, with 75.3 per cent of respondents using it to provide support. In comparison, only 27.8 per cent of companies currently provide remote support for tablet devices and only 10.3 per cent for smartphones.
  • But roll-outs of remote support for smartphones and tablets are coming. 52.7 per cent of companies plan to provide remote support to smartphones within 18 months, while 44.5 per cent plan to do this for tablets. This leaves a large portion of companies that don’t currently support these devices or plan to in the near future – 27.8 per cent for tablets and 37 per cent for smartphones.
  • Many companies allow remote access to their networks by third party vendors – 88 per cent of companies had more than one external supplier. The largest percentage (56.3) of respondents allowed 1-4 external companies to access their IT systems remotely. Only 12.3 per cent disallowed all third party access.
  • Around 36 per cent of respondents are concerned about the security risks of remote support, while 31 per cent are unsure of the potential for vulnerabilities. Only 21.4 per cent are reasonably sure that their remote support platform is secure, and 11.9 per cent are certain of their security.

Stuart Facey, VP of EMEA, Bomgar said: “Remote support is a critical tool in the IT armory, increasing tech support efficiency and customer satisfaction by allowing techs to access and fix any system or device being used in the field. As more and more work moves outside the traditional office walls, the need for remote support will only increase.”

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