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Case studies
5 min

Helping Oxford’s Global Cybersecurity Capacity Centre (GCSCC) conduct a survey on Cybersecurity across Workplaces

Examining the impact of the Internet on the post-pandemic workplace

GrapeData
Oct 10, 2022
Cybersecurity
B2C market research

The Problem Statement: How have Cybersecurity and workplaces evolved over the course of the pandemic?

Imagine that it’s a rainy day in London and your teammate just messaged you that he’s WFH. Would you still go to the office? Gone are the days when working from home was seen as unproductive or hampering the workflow. Remember when Yahoo’s CEO Marissa Meyers banned work from home in 2013? Imagine if a company thought of doing the same today.Working from home is not as new of a concept as it was a couple of years ago.In fact, several studies have pointed out that productivity and creativity increase while working from home. 

Companies all over the world have responded with swiftness to the Covid-19 pandemic, adopting technologies such as video conferencing and cloud computing. However, we did see them struggle to manage Cybersecurity risks throughout the pandemic. Even now companies continue to navigate Cybersecurity challenges across the workplace. Rajiv Pimplaskar, president, and CEO of Dispersive Holdings says, “The return to the office or hybrid work paradigm should balance secure remote access needs with core infrastructure and resiliency to ensure great user experience, and security everywhere,”.  

Over the course of the last two years, we saw companies and employees alike adapting to the new normal of working behind a computer screen. How many of us downloaded Zoom or Microsoft Teams while we sat working from home? We also witnessed many controversies surrounding the topic of working from home. For instance, is moonlighting justified? This is a question that an Indian Tech Giant Wipro continues to ask. 

Today, most of us are accustomed to some form of hybrid or remote working. But the question remains: how has the global adult worker’s perceptions of remote work and Cybersecurity changed? What Cybersecurity issues did they face during each stage of the pandemic? A new study conducted by Oxford’s Global Cybersecurity Capacity Centre (GCSCC) in collaboration with GrapeData examines this question, among others. Initial descriptive results from the study can be found here.

Overview of the Exploratory Research 

The project spanned two approaches: in-depth interviews conducted with IT professionals at large firms and institutions and a global survey of 7330 adults conducted in partnership with GrapeData. GrapeData’s fieldwork methodology consisted of administering the survey through our AI and Geolocation based platform. The survey focused on collecting sentiments from respondents of the age group of 18 and above about Cybersecurity and the respondent’s workplace. It took place during the period of 22 June to 2 September 2022, covering 133 countries. Some of the themes of the questions that were raised in the survey were the following:

1. Shifts in the Workplace during and after the Covid-19 pandemic

There’s no denying that the way that people work has drastically changed over the past two years. However, in which ways has the workplace evolved over the course of the pandemic? This is one of the questions that the research team at the Global Centre for Cybersecurity Capacity Building at the University of Oxford addresses in the study. Some inputs for analysis taken into consideration were:

  • The distribution of workplaces: Home, Office/Uni, Hybrid or Decentralised work centres 
  • The distribution of respondents working from home before and after the pandemic and during the period of the survey
  • Whether respondents needed access to the Internet to work or study

Using these inputs, the team came up with certain themes. One of the themes that emerged was that although the pandemic has accelerated work from home with many preferring the concept, choosing the ideal workplace is still a matter of debate. The research also brings into question the matter of organisational perspectives and policies about working from home.

2. Existing Problems in the Cybersecurity space

The next pillar of the research focuses on what problems exist in the Cybersecurity space. In the opening keynotes of Gartner’s Security and Risk Management Summit, June 21-22 in Sydney, analysts expressed concerns about managing Cybersecurity concerns. Richard Addiscott said, “Most security and risk leaders now recognise that major disruption is only one crisis away. We can’t control it, but we can evolve our thinking, our philosophy, our program, and our architecture.”

Do hybrid or remote workers feel rising concerns over Cybersecurity measures in their company? What are the problems they face and when were more problems perceived? These are some questions that were part of the study conducted by the team at GCSCC. Initial findings suggest that Cybersecurity is somewhat of a growing problem but the question that is yet to be answered is to what extent? 

3. Patterns, perceptions, and beliefs of remote or hybrid workers 

Another engrossing pillar of the research is uncovering perceptions and beliefs about remote or hybrid work.There are differing perceptions of productivity in remote work, with some people feeling lonely while others feel more productive. Sentiment on remote work is a riveting and broad area to cover. For instance, do people feel like they lose social touch while working from home? Or do they feel they work better with minimum distractions at home? Additionally, what factors determine whether people choose to go to work on a certain day? 

For instance, a McKinsey study finds that work from home ranks as a top three motivator while finding a new job. It will certainly be interesting to find out the psychological factors behind working patterns from the study. 

Initial Takeaways from the Study 

The team at Oxford’s Global Cybersecurity Capacity Centre (GCSCC) continues to probe into these findings. Some key takeaways from the study so far include:

  1. Most companies have allowed flexible work arrangements and implemented the recommended Cybersecurity measures for protection
  2. Even after the pandemic, there remains a notable preference for hybrid or remote work instead of going to the office
  3. Respondents perceived Cybersecurity as more of an issue as compared to before the pandemic

The team at GCSCC has also published a blog, titled ‘Changing Workplaces: Implications for Cybersecurity’, which can be found here.

As a tech-enabled survey provider for recruiting B2B decision-makers along niche B2C communities globally, GrapeData facilitates the collection of insightful data from informed responders anywhere in the world. Using a combination of proprietary AI and hyper-personalised targeting, we connect you with the right data and the right people to create actionable insights that work. We are proud to collaborate with Oxford University to help address questions on the changing landscape of Cybersecurity with a focus on Workplaces.