Pandemic impact: Two-thirds of polled Reg readers say it's business as usual in the IT dept, one in ten panicking

And few worried about security – are they right?

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Two-thirds of polled Register readers, on average worldwide, said it was business as usual in their IT departments amid the ongoing global coronavirus crisis. And fewer than one in ten said they were paralyzed by the pandemic.

For 24 hours on Thursday, we ran a small and simple poll for some site visitors: it would have appeared in a little box on article pages. While not a full-blown reader survey, it was nonetheless eye-opening. The goal was to gauge how IT departments and decision-makers are coping amid the spread of the virus, which has forced employees to work from home where possible and non-essential businesses to close across the US and UK, Europe, and beyond.

Todo lists will have been cleared, and new priorities identified, such as connecting, motivating, and securing a freshly remote workforce; ensuring business continuity; and recalculating technology and services spending.

To test the waters, we thus asked our readership of IT and technology pros, "What is the state of your IT department today, given the pandemic?" with the option to vote for one of the following: "We're paralysed by it"; "Spending is going through the roof as we go mobile"; "Struggling to manage the remote workforce"; "Petrified by the security challenge"; and "Business as usual."

Global results of the IT pandemic reader poll

Global results, which are more or less in line with EMEA and NA ... Click to enlarge

Across Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA), including the UK, and North America (NA), fewer than one in ten of respondents were paralyzed by the bio-nasty outbreak, so we're glad you're, at least now, generally on top of things. Patience and business continuity plans pay dividends. It may be that the initial shock of county and country-wide near-lockdowns, to prevent the spread of the virus, is somewhat over, and now we're all focusing on the job at hand: keeping the lights on, systems running, and boosting capacity where needed.

Nearly 20 per cent were struggling to manage their remote workforce. While some have been unable to adapt, others have tapped into the wealth of instant messaging and video conferencing platforms available. These services have experienced soaring growth in the past month, each with their own pros and cons and growing pains.

A tiny percentage in each region felt the need to increasing spending or were scared of the security implications – the latter, we suspect, due to trust in corporate VPNs and gateways, access policing, intrusion detection, and data-management systems to keep staff work remotely and keep miscreants out.

And two-thirds said it was business as usual.

APAC results of the IT pandemic reader poll

APAC results were slightly different ... Click to enlarge

In Asia-Pacific (APAC), things were slightly different. Some 15 per cent admitted they were paralyzed by the pandemic, and one in four said they were struggling to manage a remote workforce, perhaps due to connectivity in the region. And less than half said it was business as usual.

Below is a table of results from the question: "What is the state of your IT department today, given the pandemic?"

Answer Global EMEA NA APAC
We're paralysed by it 9% 8% 7% 15%
Spending is going through the roof as we go mobile 4% 4% 3% 8%
Struggling to manage the remote workforce 18% 16% 16% 24%
Petrified by the security challenge 3% 3% 5% 4%
Business as usual 66% 68% 69% 48%

Let us know in the comments below how you're coping, and what your priorities are right now, and spending plans. There are literally millions of folks out of work right now, in industries from hospitality and travel to manufacturing, as well as hundreds of thousands sick. We hope you're doing well, given the circumstances.

Our sister site, The Next Platform, has more industry analysis here of the pandemic's impact. ®

Poll sample: 2,179 global responses, averaged from 1,640 in EMEA, 219 in NA, and 318 in APAC, collected on March 26, 2020.

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