Every year I refl ect that the past year’s trends over time have added to the weight of each subsequent year’s statistics. I have decided to stop making that claim because with the pandemic of 2020 we could see a complete discontinuity between any trends that existed before and any that will come to pass afterwards. However, both this year and last year this report has been written under lockdown, rather than in a more
traditional work setting – but at least this year (at the time of writing) we can see a future post lockdown and hopefully post-pandemic.
As ever, the survey is arranged into themes and there is a section following this for each of these. As the collection of data this year spanned the autumn of 2020 and the spring of 2021, we have included a section on the effects of the pandemic – chiefl y we were keen to understand if the views people expressed were shaped by its effects. Are job prospects better or worse is a perennial question, whether this is because of, or despite, COVID-19 is a different story. One that we can now tell.
We also continued to ask some questions from the focus of last year, around stress levels and the continued need to consider mental health.This was especially relevant last year given the focus in this area, but the 15 months of lockdown we have all now endured, may have had dramatic effects on that data point. Has a year of avoiding the commute and offi ce politics been helpful and restored some work life balance, or are people working longer hours, suffering from isolation, and having to blend home life, home-schooling and a more demanding job role under the stay-at-home rules?
As ever, this survey data contains some good news and some bad news, some encouraging trends, and some worrying ones. It gives us ammunition for business cases and shows us where everyone is in the same boat.
Most years the need to face up to cyber risks is important – and highlighted by the report. With largely remote workforces, hastily confi gured remote access, accelerated cloud-based IT provision and restrictions on travel for meetings, design workshops or audits now being the norm and likely to persist for some time to come (certainly home or fl exible working seems to be a trend that will continue) we all, as professionals, know that we cannot let our guard down on security. I hope you fi nd this report and the data useful. Feel free to use these findings where they help you to make decisions or justify them, citing the CIISec report as appropriate. The more people that gain value from this and the more people that are aware of it, the more valuable it will be. The data and charts are presented in such a way that the interpretations can be easily followed, with the conclusions hopefully evident. We fi nish with a section specifi cally on the impacts of COVID-19 and this, in 2020/21 is uniquely interesting. If there is one overarching conclusion from this report, it is that the world has changed!