So far, 2020 has not been the best start to a new decade, but hopefully, the COVID-19 pandemic will be the worst that this year had in store for us.
Even if the pandemic is truly withdrawing, it will leave consequences that will cause problems for years and years to come.
Nurturing the economy back to health itself will take a long time and a lot of work. However, one interesting thing that we discovered due to coronavirus is that remote work is not only possible but quite easy to achieve for a lot of businesses.
When the pandemic struck, most companies had no choice, they could either allow their workers to work from home or shut down.
Many that did not want to or could not provide this option have already ceased operation, with others hanging on by a thread.
However, most decided to evolve and adapt to the situation. OpenVPN has recently published research on the matter and discovered how many firms actually decided to switch to remote work.
What did the study reveal?
The study conducted by OpenVPN surveyed workers from 300 different firms from numerous different sectors.
It questioned those working in healthcare and education, energy and technology, construction and engineering, and more.
The study shows that as many as 30% of the polled employees said that their firms implemented remote work. Meanwhile, 61% of the total number said that they already had remote work rules in place.
Of course, the reason why OpenVPN is conducting this research is the fact that using a VPN for securing their connection is crucial for employees and businesses alike.
Working remotely only makes sense if you can ensure that you are working in safe conditions.
As mentioned, around 30% were new to remote work, while 29% were also new to VPN technology. Meanwhile, 21% stated that they never used VPN tech, and 71% of that 21% do not plan to use VPN at all.
As for those who were forced into remote work and VPN usage due to the pandemic, 99% of workers believe that their companies will continue to offer remote work even after COVID-19 has been handled.
The same percentage expects that the companies will keep using VPN technology to protect themselves and their employees.
Is remote work the future of business?
Obviously, the pandemic brought a rather accelerated need for virtualization.
Meanwhile, virtualization requires security and privacy, with VPN tech being the best kind of technology for achieving both. The study shows that there was a massive spike in VPN usage over the past few months, and that business VPNs, specifically, are booming.
Of course, neither VPN usage nor remote working, are new for many of these businesses. In 12 years, between 2005 and 2017, there was a massive 159% surge in remote work.
In the US alone, 3.9 million people worked remotely in 2015. In 2020, that number exceeded 5 million, and the surge is definitely not slowing down under the circumstances that 2020 brought upon us.
As many have likely already gathered, the study's goal was to answer whether or not working from home can be the future.
It is certainly practical and requires fewer resources. However, it also requires major security updates that would ensure that there are no data leaks, that could damage the company.
So far, businesses were pretty good at recognizing that the best way to achieve this is through a layered approach.
Basically, multiple different layers of protection in place can stop most cyberattacks, and having a reputable business VPN is pretty much crucial.
Even if VPN usage skyrockets to an extent where every phone and computer has a personal VPN installed, that doesn't mean that business VPNs will be unnecessary.
Personal VPNs are great for safely browsing the web, but you need a business VPN to securely access private network resources of your company, and its distant branches.
This is why 70% of polled employees admitted that their firms extended business VPN usage, while 29% stated that their firms are using VPN for the first time.
The companies understand the importance of VPN and protection, which is a rather positive surprise.
Not everyone is on board
Interestingly enough, not all firms are on board, as mentioned earlier. This is both surprising and to be expected at the same time.
Fortunately, the data shows that almost all firms that have introduced remote work are using business VPNs to protect themselves.
Meanwhile, 99% of their employees seem convinced that the firms will keep VPN usage even after the pandemic, which means that an era where remote work will become a new norm might be arriving throughout this new decade.
As for the firms that have the means to work remotely and use a VPN but choose not to do so are already falling behind.
At first, they were falling behind due to the quarantine and the need for self-isolation. Now, however, their employees are also planning on finding a new workplace – one that would not risk their health and safety rather than make a few necessary adjustments.
This shows two things – the companies need to be prepared in order for their employees not to suffer. Otherwise, the employees will simply find a better alternative and leave, which would cause significant damage to the company, and possibly lead to its shutdown.