Security Tops IT Pro Concerns with Shift to Remote Work, Study Finds

IT pros were most worried about possible increases in cybersecurity attacks with the shift toward remote work in 2020, according to a survey conducted by Netwrix.

Netwrix, a data security and compliance solutions company based in Irvine, Calif., surveyed 732 system administrators for its "2021 Sysadmin Report," with results announced this week. Risk of cybersecurity attacks topped the list at 68 percent. Other top challenges for system administrators included:

  • Increased workload (66 percent).
  • Lack of remote support tools (38 percent).
  • Reduced budget (33 percent).
  • Reduced IT staff (30 percent).
  • Lack of IT skills to support remote work (22 percent).

The shift toward supporting a remote workforce increased the time that system administrators spent working on the job, according to 59 percent of respondents.

In general, system administrators reported working 41 hours to 50 hours per week (40 percent), 40 hours or less per week (38 percent) and 51 hours to 60 hours per week (14 percent).

System administrations working in the "financial, retail and healthcare industries" typically worked more than 40 hours per week, according to 79 percent of the respondents.

The pandemic increased the working hours the most for IT pros working in the retail sector, according to the report. Addressing remote work issues was a distraction from dealing with security matters for 72 percent of the IT pro respondents that worked for retail organizations.

The survey also examined system administrator salary expectations. Based on outside research figures, Netwrix estimated the average system administrator salary in the United States at $62,979, while it was £47,500 ($66,800) in the United Kingdom. However, more than half (51 percent) of the respondents said that those figures were "lower than expected." About the same percentage of respondents said that the average salary for system administrators should be more in the $61,000 to $85,000 range.

The survey, conducted by the Netwrix Research Lab, included lots of colorful anecdotes from the IT pro respondents about their roles, their ideal vacations and the problems of end users, who always click on things they shouldn't.

About the Author

Kurt Mackie is senior news producer for 1105 Media's Converge360 group.


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