On June 23rd, 2021, JumpCloud released a report called the JumpCloud 2021 State of the SME IT Admin Report that contains the data pulled from a survey that represents over 400 IT decision-makers, including managers, directors, vice presidents, and executives from small and mid-sized organizations across a variety of industries. Each survey respondent represents an organization with 500 or fewer employees.
JumpCloud commissioned this research to better understand the roles of IT professionals in a post-pandemic world — more specifically the challenges and dynamics of IT professionals who serve small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). Though small, organizations like these see no less complexity across their technical stack and are often challenged by small staffs, tight budgets, and, especially for newer organizations, a lack of established processes.
Transitioning to remote work hit most employees and SMEs hard — especially those without the proper IT infrastructure in place before the pandemic. This sudden shift changed the way that we look at remote work and forced IT decision-makers to acutely focus on setting up infrastructure that supports remote work in a way that’s secure, easy-to-use, easy-to-implement, and cost-effective.
Key Themes Across Responses
The dozens of questions posed to the survey recipients proved to be very insightful, and a number of key responses shown through:
- There’s a story of dedication and determination to overcome obstacles and keep colleagues productive and secure. While IT admins weren’t on the frontlines of healthcare, they were (and still are) essential personnel on the frontlines within their organizations working tirelessly to keep them operating successfully.
- The majority of respondents are happier now than they were a year ago, despite the ongoing challenges of managing remote work as a whole.
- That being said, nearly two-thirds of IT professionals feel overwhelmed by trying to manage remote work. Mental health in the world of IT has been overlooked for far too long, and for many, it deteriorated further during the pandemic. To combat this, it’s important to create a roadmap for IT mental health within your organization and prioritize it ruthlessly.
- The three biggest concerns involving security are software vulnerability exploits, password reuse, and unsecured network usage.
- The priorities for the second half of 2021 for SME IT leaders include adding layered security for remote work that is truly secure, simplifying remote work for end-users, and centralizing/simplifying device management.
In short, IT professionals are some of the most resilient people out there, which was made clear during the pandemic. They led the charge during an unprecedented, global crisis to help keep organizations protected and running. They are the backbone of each SME, and they put in countless hours to ensure that remote work could happen seemingly overnight. Now that the hybrid workplace environment seems to be here to stay, IT professionals are in need of solutions that are more secure, frictionless, centralized, and simplified for end-users.
Survey Topic Snapshot
In the world of IT, there are countless challenges that decision-makers deal with every day. In light of this, we used this survey to pare down all of the potential topics and address just a few key ideas to keep us grounded. Learn more about what many IT professionals dealt with and are still recovering from — check out this snapshot regarding IT budgets and IT professionals’ happiness:
The Impact of Remote Work on IT
- IT managers are happier despite budget discrepancies: Nearly 75% say their IT budgets increased in the past year, while only 38% saw their own salaries increase. In fact, 26% say they’re being paid less. Despite all they’ve gone through, when asked how they felt about the statement – “I am happier in my job than I was a year ago”, a clear majority reported they’re actually happier in their work now (59%).
This data alone suggests a strong service-oriented mindset among IT professionals — their focus is on ensuring that end-users are satisfied even before some of their needs are articulated, as well as making sure they’re available to colleagues when needed, which is constant.
The report contains many other interesting and important statistics that give us a comprehensive look into what IT professionals have been dealing with and how they’ve taken it all in stride. A few other key themes that this survey hit on are the need to re-evaluate and invest in security, purchasing decisions and the future of IT, and the critical role of MSPs. Due to increased security concerns and the popularity of remote and hybrid work environments, many IT admins have implemented or plan to implement Zero Trust Security to better protect their IT resources in light of the security discrepancies that have come up via remote work.