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In the Zone

Research roundup: how the pandemic is changing work, security, shopping

Peter Krass's picture

by Peter Krass on 03/02/2021
Blog Category: cloud-and-data-centers

How is the pandemic affecting the world of tech? Well, as many as 1 in 4 jobs could continue to be done remotely. Cybersecurity spending is up. And brands are spending big bucks on Amazon.

That’s the latest from top researchers, survey firms and market watchers. Here’s your tech provider’s roundup.

The future of work after the pandemic

With millions of people now getting vaccinated, this could be the beginning of the pandemic’s end. That makes now a good time to ask: Will the workplace changes of the last year persist? Or will we go back to “normal”?

The smart consultants at McKinsey & Co. believe they know. They just published a report on the future of work, based on 800 occupations grouped into 10 “work arenas.”

Working from home

One thing McKinsey has realized: The need for physical proximity varies by occupation. Medical care, for example, almost always requires physical proximity between a healthcare provider and a patient. Same for barber shops and nail salons. But computer-based office work? Not so much.

Here are some of McKinsey’s predictions and insights:

> Roughly 20% to 25% of the workforce in advanced economies could do their work from home from 3 to 5 days a week. This represents 4 to 5 times more remote work than we saw before the pandemic.

> Some companies already plan to shift to more flexible workspaces after the pandemic. On average, companies say they’ll reduce office space by 30%.

> Business travel will rebound, but not fully. McKinsey believes that up to 20% of business travel may not return.

> Shopping online is here to stay. Roughly three-quarters of people who used digital channels for the first time during the pandemic say they’ll continue using them after the pandemic.

> AI is looking better. Two-thirds of executives said they’re stepping up their investments in automation and AI, either somewhat or significantly. What’s more, these investments correlate with physical proximity. That is, the more a job involves close human interaction, the more likely it is to be targeted for automation and AI.

> Due to shifts in the workforce, as many as 1 in 4 people may need to find a new occupation by 2030.

Cybersec and the pandemic

A lot has changed during the COVID-19 pandemic, and that includes cybersecurity.

Nearly three-quarters of IT decision-makers say they face new security challenges with increased complexity. These challenges include protecting users now working from home, keeping applications updated, and implementing Zero Trust approaches.

That’s according to a new survey report issued from Tanium, a provider of endpoint solutions. Tanium commissioned PSB Insights to conduct an online survey of 500 IT decision-makers, both in the United States and the UK, who work in a wide range of industries.

Here’s some of what Tanium and PSB found:

> Nearly 9 in 10 respondents say that before the pandemic, they had felt confident in their ability to secure remote workers. Yet now, only about 4 in 10 say they found it easy to actually shift employees.

> Nearly a third (30%) of respondents say they’ve observed end users failing to keep their software updated.

> IT groups are shifting their spending priorities toward cybersec. The areas most commonly cited for new investment are data security (cited by 63%); threat detection (60%); security/compliance software and services (59%); and device management (50%). In addition, nearly 4 in 10 respondents say they’ve accelerated their investments in tech that supports a Zero Trust architecture.

> Risky behavior is on the upswing. As the chart below (courtesy of Tanium) shows, the most commonly observed risks are storing sensitive data (cited by 41% of respondents); clicking on malicious emails (38%); and inappropriate admin access (37%).

Risky behavior chart from Tanium

Brands ♥ Amazon

That smile in the Amazon logo just got a little wider. With so many of us are cooped up at home during the pandemic lockdown, we’re shopping online — a lot.

Amazon logo

Brands have taken notice. Today, nearly 8 in 10 brands are selling on Amazon, up from about half (55%) a year ago, according to a new survey report from Feedvisor.

Other findings from its survey include:

> Nearly 9 in 10 brands now use Amazon’s advertising platform. That’s 21% more than did so a year ago.

> Half of all brands say they experience a return of 7x or more when using Amazon advertising. Another 40% or so say their return is in the range of 4x to 6x.

> Brands are increasing their ad spending on Amazon, too. Nearly 6 in 10 spend over $60K a month on Amazon advertising. A year ago, only about 4 in 10 spent that much.

 

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