Remote Work: Three Top Trends In 2023

Virtual work is becoming the norm in various fields and workplaces. However, as remote workspace arrangements grow, changes to this setup appear and new challenges arise.

In terms of IT Service Management (ISTM), what are the three major trends that will impact remote work and the business practices around it, in 2023? 

1. Remote Work Will Keep Growing & Span Across Industries 

These days, almost one-fifth of all jobs are completely remote. Recent research about global recruitment shows that 64% of professionals who began working from home would resign if faced with the obligations of returning to the office full-time. According to the “Everywhere Workplace” report, 71% of workers said they would choose to work from home rather than get a pay raise or promotion. In addition, 35% of employees would change jobs if they could work remotely full-time. While the benefits of remote work for employees include the ability to avoid commuting, saving money and a better work-life balance, companies have experienced great advantages too.

Statistics show that remote workers are 47% more productive than those working in an office environment. In addition to that, remote work is opening more possibilities for businesses to tap into wider talent pools, foster collaboration, and increase productivity. 

In 2023 and in the years to come, as technology advances, global remote work trends will expand considerably, crossing international boundaries and increasing multinational workforces. Remote work is expected to permeate industries that have particularly unique needs, which have made remote work more challenging than the typical business. The entertainment industry, for example, conducts work from highly specialized workstations and software that require exceptional speed and precision. Lag related to remote connections is not an option in this industry, and as technology catches up, the distinction between in-office and remote performance will become negligible.

2. ITSM Will Become Crucial In Minimizing Downtime & Avoiding Revenue Loss 

There is no doubt that the digital transformation we went through over the last few years has set the bar higher for IT professionals.

In 2022, 29 billion devices have been connected to the Internet and, according to research, almost half of employees will have been using an average of 2.5 devices for work purposes, while nearly one-third have used 3 and more. With each one of these devices needing to be supported, regardless of the operating system, function and location, it’s easy to understand why in 2023 IT helpdesk will face a growing number of challenges. 

According to a survey Splashtop conducted across 1,000 IT decision makers, the rise of remote work and bring your own device (BYOD) policies, with the consequent mix of personal and corporate devices used daily for work purposes, has strongly increased the stress levels amongst IT staff. 

More than 80% of IT leaders have reported having to work longer hours due to the management of growing hybrid workforces, and about 35% recognized that the complexity of team locations and numerous devices has made their job harder. 

Next year, we can expect IT help desks to increase first-time fix ratio in more complex and diversified tech environments.

Remote Desktop Access and support technologies that deliver high performance across all platforms and devices will be key in enabling IT professionals to enhance their efficiency and ensure clients’ business continuity. 

In 2023, the use of Augmented Reality is also expected to rise to support distributed workforces and quickly solve on-site problems remotely. Thanks to features such as camera sharing, live annotation, and 3D object tracking, technicians will be able to view issues remotely and guide onsite personnel in executing small fixes immediately. In 2022, Paniceus Systems implemented Splashtop Augmented Reality to support the Peter Pane restaurant franchise, which included more than 1,000 endpoints at 46 separate locations spread over two countries. They were able to support a variety of devices, including fixed and mobile POS systems, and guide non-technical teams in fixing issues directly on location. By introducing that technology in their process, they reduced device downtime by 50% and improved overall customer efficiency, while also decreasing travel time and costs.  

3. Cyber Security & Zero-Trust Solutions Will Proliferate

As hybrid and remote work continues to become more prevalent, businesses will need to strongly increase their security posture. With more people working remotely, security risks are naturally increased. The proliferation of BYOD presents a major security challenge for many businesses, as these devices are not owned by companies, and might not have proper OS/application patches installed, nor essential antivirus software running.

As a result, in the last few years, the combination of BYOD and virtual private network (VPN) to support remote work created the perfect storm for ransomware attacks.

In 2022, IBM's 'Cost of A Data Breach' report found that remote work increased the average total cost of a data breach by nearly $1 million. The attacks include either directly exposing information or making an error that allows cyber attackers to gain access to an organization's systems, such as clicking on phishing emails or incorrectly storing login information.

In 2023, cyber security will become even more crucial for businesses, regardless of their size. Although more and more people are working from home, many are still facing unclear hybrid work policies. Not all businesses have established comprehensive policies whether it be about determining what devices can be used, what security policies are in place, or where files should be stored. Ultimately, it allows for more room for human errors which, consequently, continues to create opportunities for hackers.

As a result, during 2023 we can expect more companies to provide comprehensive security training for employees. Employees will receive more and better training and will be equipped with password managers and additional tools to safeguard corporate and client information.

Traditional VPNs will no longer be considered safe. In the past two years, VPNs have already proven to be outdated for today’s modern remote workforce. The traffic overload going through the firewalls/VPNs, has also made it difficult for IT or MSP professionals to monitor and detect security issues. Once a traditional VPN is established, potential malware can effectively traverse from the infected device onto the corporate network.

Furthermore, once such a VPN is established, SaaS traffic such as Microsoft 365, Salesforce, Microsoft Teams, Zoom, etc. are backhauled through the corporate network, resulting in huge performance bottlenecks, and slowing down productivity. 

During 2023, we can expect a significant proliferation of cyber security and zero-trust solutions. According to research, this year 45% of EMEA organizations began to define Zero Trust initiatives, while another 53% are planning to start implementing Zero Trust within the next 12 to 18 months, making huge investments in terms of budget and resources.

The solutions that are currently available though, together with the general lack of knowledge around cyber security and the scarcity of highly specialized security professionals, make it hard for most small and mid-sized businesses (SMBs) to jump on the cyber security wagon.

To make things worse, a great deal of businesses, especially of small and medium size, typically do not realize what they require in a hybrid or remote work environment until they experience a security breach. Tech companies need to continuously invest in the research and development of solutions that will make remote work much more secure for SMBs in 2023. 

Alexander Draaijer is General Manager of EMEA at Splashtop

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