Research finds 72% of enterprises have majority of employees accessing cloud-based applications and data via mobile devices

Zscaler, Inc., the leader in cloud security, announced the release of its Digital Transformation Report EMEA 2019, which found that 72% of organisations have a majority of their employees accessing applications and data in the cloud or the data centre on their mobile devices with 29% of companies claiming that number to be more than 75% across the UK, Germany, France, and the Benelux region. This high rate of mobility coincides with the top drivers for digital transformation initiatives, which include enabling greater flexibility for employees (37%) and implementing more efficient processes (38%).

When asked about the biggest obstacle to digital transformation, however, security topped the list across all four regions. Eighty percent (80%) of enterprises have security concerns about the way in which employees remotely access data and applications, with the primary focus on the use of unsecured networks (34%) and unmanaged devices (21%) as well as blanket access to the entire corporate network (20%).

Companies embarking on digital transformation initiatives are beginning to recognise that the traditional way of providing remote access connectivity to their applications residing in the cloud or corporate networks are riddled with security risks. With the extension of the perimeter to the internet, segmentation on application level is needed to strengthen the security posture in the cloud era, when mobile employees, consultants, and third parties require access.

“Digital transformation is a powerful business enabler with many potential benefits—from added flexibility for employees to cost and efficiency savings —and it must be a process involving input from all aspects of the business, not just IT,” said Stan Lowe, Global CISO at Zscaler. “With applications moving to the cloud, and users connecting from everywhere, the perimeter is long gone. It’s therefore time to decouple security from the network and use policies that are enforced anywhere applications reside and everywhere users connect. Ultimately, as applications move to the cloud, security needs to move there too.”

The report also found that digital transformation is predominantly an IT decision, however business decision-makers are increasingly driving this initiative, such as the Chief Information Officer (54%) and Chief Digital Officer (47%). Furthermore, 18% claim their CEOs are pushing for and owning digital transformation. The top reasons for embarking on a digital transformation journey were increased flexibility for employees (37%), a new business strategy to focus on core competencies (36%), improved profit margins (36%) and increased cost savings (35%).

“Companies have to consider the effect that application transformation has on their network performance, bandwidth consumption and the latency added by hub-and-spoke architectures from the outset,” Lowe concluded, “Moving applications to the cloud needs to be considered in-line with new network infrastructure and security requirements. The new imperative is direct-to-Internet access with security policies that protect users, regardless of their location or chosen device.”

Research methodology:

Conducted by Atomik Research, 404 CIOs, CISOs and heads of network architecture in the UK, Germany, France and the Benelux region were surveyed within enterprises with more than 3,000 employees at the end of January 2019.

To download a copy of the full report, please click here.