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A survey of IT professionals found that only 36% believe their organization is prepared for a crisis like COVID-19, and 70% are still struggling to adapt to the new normal of supporting a largely remote workforce.

The data comes from infrastructure monitoring software company LogicMonitor’s Evolution of IT Research Report, and includes data gathered as part of LogicMonitor’s Cloud2025 report. This newest report focuses less on how the role of cloud computing is evolving in response to the coronavirus, focusing instead on how the pandemic is affecting the IT teams that have to work to keep everything running smoothly.

SEE: COVID-19 workplace policy (TechRepublic Premium)

The report paints a picture of IT teams struggling to keep up with rapid changes, unsure of how well their organization will handle the next crisis, and worried that IT automation as a result of the shift to remote work will lead to lost jobs.

“Many companies and their IT personnel were not prepared to transition to and support a fully remote business model and workforce,” the report said. Respondents said their biggest concerns during a crisis that forces people to work remotely are:

  • Having to address service outages and other issues remotely
  • Network strain due to a high volume of remote logins
  • VPN support
  • Not having access to the hardware they need
  • Insecure teleconference software

As mentioned above, 70% of respondents said they’re having a hard time adapting to the new responsibilities of supporting a remote workforce. The same number are having trouble maintaining data security due to a rapid shift to the cloud, 69% said they were having difficulty making enough bandwidth available to keep essential services online, and 54% said rapid shifts to remote work led to downtime and loss of services.

SEE: Return to work: What the new normal will look like post-pandemic (free PDF) (TechRepublic)

In short, IT teams are being hit hard by the way the business world has changed in the first half of 2020.

The response to these problems seems to be IT automation, or at least IT teams see it that way. Eighty-eight percent said there has been an increasing focus on automating IT tasks in their departments over the past three years, and 94% said they expect it to become a focus in the next three years.

Respondents see the benefits of automation: Freeing up time on menial tasks, reducing cost and errors, and the like. They also see the potential downsides, with one major one being job loss: 64% of IT leaders are worried about theirs or a colleague’s jobs being eliminated in the face of IT automation.

What LogicMonitor recommends

Whether or not jobs are lost due to a potentially permanent shift to remote work, organizations need to be prepared to tackle the changing face of IT work as the business world continues to adapt to COVID-19.

LogicMonitor makes three recommendations to IT leaders to help make resiliency in the face of crisis more practical:

  • Build and test crisis plans: Account for everything from systems going down to an employee being unreachable, and then test those scenarios to find out how you respond, how to improve those responses, and how to plan for other potential issues.
  • Invest in intelligent infrastructure monitoring: AI-powered tools that monitor infrastructure and report on other metrics are available, and businesses should implement them to improve response capabilities. Be sure to find one that integrates with your existing IT tools.
  • Consider how you can benefit from IT automation:49% of respondents with IT automation in place said they were confident in their ability to weather a crisis, compared with only 36% of those without automation. It can be beneficial to explore how your organization can benefit from IT automation, even if it’s just to eliminate menial work.