Apr 29, 2024

Hundreds of tiny offices: IT challenges of remote work

Enabling secure remote work remains a challenge for many businesses. We look at the difficulties of managing a remote IT infrastructure and how to overcome them.

  • Connect and support people
  • Imagine going from one office — containing all your devices and your entire IT team — to 500 tiny offices scattered across the world. That’s essentially what it was like for businesses that recently made the switch to a hybrid or remote working model. 

    Although for some of us remote work has become totally normal, many IT teams are still struggling with managing remote IT environments. In this article, we address the main IT challenges of remote work and how to conquer them.

    Why remote work isn’t old news

    Granted, the COVID-19 pandemic is in the past, and remote work isn’t exactly “new”. But a lot of businesses still haven’t adjusted to it fully. 

    After the pandemic, some companies began to transition from remote work back to hybrid or even fully on-site policies. However, this push isn’t expected to last. Executives at a panel of leading U.S. businesses anticipate remote work to keep increasing over the next few years, rather than returning to the pre-pandemic state. 

    As of 2023, 28% of employees worldwide were working remotely — a clear increase compared to 13% in 2020. All of which to say: remote work will play a significant role in the years to come.

    Remote work challenges IT teams are still facing

    While most companies have embraced remote work, many aren’t fully equipped to face the IT challenges that come with it. According to our research, 90% of global IT leaders agree that a modern connectivity platform is essential in a hybrid digital workplace. Yet, many aren’t fully confident in their remote connectivity setup.

    So, let’s take a closer look at what they’re struggling with.

    Ensuring security

    When IT professionals hear remote work, they think of security concerns — with good reason. 

    Picture a controlled office setting. Here, the IT team can regulate every aspect of the IT infrastructure, from device settings to network configurations and firewalls. In a hybrid or remote environment, they don’t have this level of control. 

    Tracking devices, patching software, securing networks — all this is much more challenging when devices and users are scattered across different locations. This added complexity increases the potential attack surface for cybercriminals. 

    On top of that, many organizations allow employees to use their personal devices for work. This is called “bring your own device” (BYOD). BYOD saves the upfront cost of providing a corporate device. However, it means that all security risks employees encounter while using their devices for personal reasons are also risks to your organization. 

    Plus, compared to company-owned devices, the IT team has much less visibility into personal devices. This makes it harder to detect security risks and manage them proactively. 

    And with hundreds (or even thousands) of people remotely accessing the company network, it becomes more difficult to tell when an unauthorized person gains access to sensitive information. 

    To summarize, remote work makes it a lot harder for IT departments to secure devices, networks, and data. No wonder 88% of IT leaders worldwide say their companies are falling short in addressing cyber risks. 

    Source: https://foundryco.com/tools-for-marketers/research-security-priorities/

    Managing complexity

    Remote work environments tend to be highly complex. Think of hundreds of users in hundreds of locations, using different devices, and different apps. On average, enterprises run more than 130 software-as-a-service (SaaS) apps. And this number is expected to keep rising.

    With such a vast variety of IT assets, it can be difficult for your IT team to stay in control

    Plus, the rise of SaaS has enabled employees to easily download software themselves. This leads to shadow IT — IT resources that are used without the knowledge, approval, and oversight of the IT team. Shadow IT greatly increases the complexity of your infrastructure and leaves it more vulnerable to attacks. 

    Complex IT environments also pose a challenge when it comes to maintaining compliance with industry regulations like GDPR and HIPAA. Without full visibility of each asset in your ecosystem, you risk violations which can result in hefty fines. 

    In addition, the complexity of the remote workplace makes it difficult to monitor the efficient use of IT assets. This leads to under- or overutilization which can be major cost drivers. 

    Source: https://www.statista.com/statistics/1233538/average-number-saas-apps-yearly/

    Providing effective support

    Remote work also introduces new challenges when it comes to providing technical support.

    At a physical service desk, people walk in during office hours with their devices in hand. Remote support requests, in turn, can come sailing in at any time of day. This requires a high level of organization, especially if your support team is also scattered across different locations.

    The variety of devices in your ecosystem also makes it difficult to provide effective support. With non-standard or BYOD devices, it can take support experts a lot longer to diagnose and solve a technical problem.

    What further complicates things is that skilled IT professionals are rare. A recent study by MIT Technology Review Insights revealed that 64% of business leaders find that IT and tech candidates lack the necessary skills or experience. 56% feel there’s an overall shortage of skilled talent.

    So, IT support teams need to find ways of doing more with less. There are plenty of remote software tools that can help with this, but most teams don’t have the time it takes to deploy them. They need solutions that work from the get-go, so they can keep providing much-needed support.

    Source: https://www.technologyreview.com/2023/09/21/1079695/new-approaches-to-the-tech-talent-shortage/

    So, IT support teams need to find ways of doing more with less. There are plenty of remote software tools that can help with this, but most teams don’t have the time it takes to deploy them. They need solutions that work from the get-go, so they can keep providing much-needed support.

    3 key tips to tackle these challenges

    Luckily, the tools you need to manage and secure your remote work environment are already there. It’s just a matter of figuring out what works for your organization. 

    Here are some tips to get you started.

    Tip #1: Enforce a zero-trust framework

    If you’re serious about securing your remote IT infrastructure, it’s best to start by establishing a zero trust framework. Zero trust means that you assume your network is at risk by default and don’t trust anyone trying to connect to it unless they can prove their trustworthiness.

    To do so, users must fulfill certain criteria such as verifying their identity via multi-factor authentication (MFA). Only then are they granted access to the network.

    Another way to look at zero trust is that instead of forbidding users from taking certain actions, you specify exactly what they’re allowed to do and under which circumstances.

    With a zero trust mindset, your IT department keeps close control over who can connect to your network. This greatly strengthens your organization’s security and helps ensure compliance with data protection regulations.

    TeamViewer can play a pivotal role in creating a zero-trust environment. With its conditional access capabilities, TeamViewer lets you define precisely who can access what under which conditions. That means you can restrict device access to certain user roles, locations, or time frames.

    This not only prevents unauthorized access but also gives you a central place where you can administer permissions and track all remote connections.

    Tip #2: Be proactive about asset management

    Keeping track of IT assets remotely is easier than you think. At least if you’re using the right management software. 

    With remote IT asset management (ITAM), you can get proactive about managing your IT ecosystem. This allows you to monitor all types of assets in one dashboard. That includes both hardware like laptops, smartphones, and IoT devices, and software, like operating systems (OS) and apps. 

    With clear visibility of all your hardware and software assets, you can detect potential issues and address them proactively. For instance, you can have your ITAM solution notify you if a remote worker’s OS is outdated, so you can deploy the update to the user before it poses a risk. 

    And with the details of each device or piece of software in one central location, you have the information you need to provide fast and effective remote support.

    You can also use ITAM to track the usage of your IT assets. This helps you identify underused or overused assets across your network and redistribute them accordingly. 

    TeamViewer’s asset management solution is great for managing a diverse fleet of devices. Plus, it automatically creates a detailed inventory of your entire remote infrastructure. This eliminates shadow IT while saving you time and manual effort.

    Tip #3: Embrace automation

    Especially if you’re understaffed, automation technology is the key to getting more done without risking burnout.

    When getting started with automation, focus on repetitive tasks that don’t really require human interaction. By automating these tasks, you free up your team’s time for more demanding work and reduce the likelihood of human errors.

    Let’s take password management as an example. Managing user accounts and passwords manually is extremely time-consuming. Just think of all those requests to reset forgotten passwords.

    With single sign-on (SSO), it’s a different story. Employees no longer need to remember a long list of passwords (or worse, use the same password multiple times). Plus, you can automatically apply your organization’s password policies and authentication rules to each user.

    That way, your team isn’t bogged down with resetting passwords and there’s more time for tasks that require their focus.

    Another good example is managing support requests. Your support experts are great at diagnosing and solving complex IT problems. They shouldn’t be spending much of their time logging and assigning tickets. That’s what a service desk solution is for!

    TeamViewer can help you simplify your support by automating routine admin tasks.


    Remote work continues to pose a challenge to IT teams around the world. Businesses that have recently switched to remote or hybrid work are still struggling with added security risks, increased complexity, and new support requirements.

    But with the right approach, it’s possible for IT teams to overcome these challenges. 

    A zero-trust framework can be a good starting point to secure your remote IT infrastructure. Central asset management helps you be proactive about mitigating issues and allocating resources. And automation frees up your team members’ time so they can focus on work that requires their full attention. 

    With TeamViewer’s enterprise remote access and support software, you get the technology you need to support your remote or hybrid business, all in one place.  

    Lisa Mohsmann

    Content Marketing Manager at TeamViewer

    Lisa is a content marketing manager at TeamViewer. With a master’s in management and three years of experience in IT, Lisa is passionate about technology that empowers people to do their best work. When she’s not at her desk, you’ll find her somewhere outside — hiking, exploring, or with a good book.

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