Ipswitch Survey Reveals ‘A Nightmare before Christmas’ for IT Teams

Lexington - 21 December 2015

Remote access, network and privacy concerns top of the list for biggest IT nightmares this holiday season

According to the third annual “Happy Holidays?” survey from Ipswitch that polled 378 IT professionals in the U.S., IT teams can expect a few nightmares before and during the holiday season. From employees working remotely to employees being careless during holiday celebrations, IT teams are left on-call and dealing with all the frustrations that occur.

“The holiday season for IT teams is no vacation as they are working around the clock to keep their IT infrastructure running smoothly. Making sure employees are connected and ready to work no matter their location along with putting out the typical fires is no easy task,” said Jeff Loeb, Chief Marketing Officer at Ipswitch. “Ensuring that IT has the proper visibility into company networks and applications, and preparing IT for employee mishaps are key during the holidays.”

Coping with the Nightmares that Arise

As employees are enjoying company celebrations and time off with family and friends, IT teams are left to handle the consequences that can result from the festive cheer. Given the abundance of issues that have the potential to disrupt the holiday spirit, up to 56 percent of IT professionals said that they will be on-call or working during the holidays. Up to 40 percent of IT professionals expect to spend Christmas Eve and Christmas day working, and up to 16 percent noted that they’d have to celebrate New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day while working.

Home for the Holidays

The demand for remote management capabilities during the holidays has become even more complex as employees want to be able to access their company’s network and applications as they please. When asked what percentage of their workforce is working remotely on any given week during the holidays, 47 percent of IT professionals said 10-25 percent and another 29 percent said 26-50 percent. So while employees are working from home, traveling or on vacation, IT teams are working behind the scenes to make sure infrastructure is up and running 24/7.

The Holiday Horrors Continue

When asked about the most common IT problem employees face when the office is closed for the holidays, the majority of respondents said laptop problems (39 percent), followed by the inability to access the network (36 percent). Poor application performance was also a common problem for IT at 28 percent, as well as security-related issues (e.g. malware on laptops) at 21 percent. To add to the mounting pressures, the survey found that more than one-third (38 percent) of IT professionals have experienced a network outage during a company holiday.

Holiday Celebrations

Holiday celebrations also cause anxiety for IT teams, as if remote access and network outages weren’t enough. The survey found that half of IT professionals (50 percent) report that they’re worried their company could suffer a data breach at the hands of a careless holiday celebration. Following holiday festivities, up to 47 percent of IT teams have had an employee report the loss of a device holding sensitive company data, whether in a pub, restaurant or at the back of a taxi. Up to 15 percent also reported the result of a data breach from employees sending emails to the wrong recipient or attaching the wrong document at holiday celebrations.

Holiday Gifting

As most holiday wish lists contain the latest and hottest new gadgets, IT teams can expect new devices to cause havoc in the New Year. When asked what they believe to be the most pervasive must-have gadget in 2016, one-third (33 percent) of all IT professionals polled said smartphones while 31 percent said wearable technology. Only 19 percent of IT professionals believe tablets will cause problems, followed by 16 percent who said laptops.

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