Cisco Finds Organizations Not Ready to Operate as Usual During Workforce Disruptions

Cisco announced the results of its ‘Securing the Mobile
Workforce’ nationwide survey, conducted last month. The survey shows
that while many organizations appreciate the increased employee
productivity and other benefits offered by laptop computers, smart
phones and virtual private networks,
they may be unprepared to enable the majority of their employees to
effectively telework during workforce disruptions such as a transit
failures or natural disasters.  Without the proper networking
infrastructures to support remote work by a high percentage of their
employees, these organizations risk being unprepared to maintain their
operations should a major event prevent individuals from coming into
the office for an indefinite period.

The survey, conducted by InsightExpress and commissioned by Cisco,
interviewed 502 information technology decision makers from U.S.
businesses of all sizes. The survey questioned IT professionals in the
health care, retail, finance, government and education sectors.


  • More than half (53 percent) of the of the IT executives surveyed
    said that less than half their employees were currently set up to work
    remotely and 21 percent said that they have no employees enabled to
    work remotely.
  • Asked why more employees did not have access to the technology that
    would enable them to work outside the office, 38 percent said that
    business requirements did not necessitate it.   
  • Only 22 percent of the respondents feel that their current
    remote-access solutions have positioned their companies for disaster
    preparedness and business continuity.
  • Just 15 percent of the respondents listed ‘pandemic or other
    disaster preparedness’ as a top business driver for providing remote
    access to employees, and only 5 percent listed it as the primary
    business driver.

The Case for Remote Access

The results indicate that the majority of companies are not
considering the importance of remote-access solutions for potential
business interruptions, focusing more on business needs under normal
conditions. In most cases, the cost to implement remote access across
an entire workforce is a fraction of what the loss of business would be
if employees could not work remotely during a crisis.

  • Organizations, however, do understand the benefits of telework: 71
    percent of the survey respondents said that employee productivity is a
    key business driver for providing remote access, and 55 percent
    reported that enabling efficient and competitive business operations
    was a key driver for offering remote access.
  • Of those who had adopted mobility and remote-access technology, 62
    percent said that it had resulted in increased employee productivity,
    with 57 percent noting an increase in employee satisfaction and 42
    percent seeing a reduction in overhead costs.
  • Results varied somewhat by industry, with businesses in the health
    care and finance industries being better prepared, in general, for a
    pandemic or other disaster situation than those in the retail,
    education and government sectors.


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