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The Public Sector unprepared for the impact of wearable technology on its IT infrastructure

Confusion over wireless devices on the network and a lack of planning demonstrate an acute lack of readiness for wearable technology in the workplace

PRLog - April 11, 2014 - LONDON, England, April 01, 2014 - A Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request1 by Ipswitch has revealed that when asked specifically about managing wearable technology entering the workplace – from Google Glass to smart watches – an overwhelming 85 percent of Public Sector Organisations (PSOs) admitted to having no plan in place.

The request revealed that despite 93 percent of PSOs having invested in network management tools, less than a quarter (23%) bother to review network performance regularly during office hours.

It also found that, despite the rich feature set offered by these tools, almost two-thirds (65%) of PSOs across the UK are unable to differentiate between wired and wireless devices on their network.

Finally, even though performance was cited as a key priority by 87 percent of PSOs, only just over a third (34%) review network performance on a weekly basis or less frequently.  One in eight (12%) of PSOs admit to not reviewing network performance at all.

Differences between public services

·       88 percent of local authorities, 85 percent of government departments, 83 percent of NHS trusts and 76 percent of universities admit to having no plan for wearable technology in place

·       79 percent of government departments, 69 percent of LAs, 62 percent of NHS trusts and 49 percent of universities across the UK are unable to differentiate between wired and wireless devices on their network

·       Nearly one-in-ten (9%) of government departments, one in eight local authorities (13%) and 15 percent of universities admit to not reviewing network performance at all

The FOIA request was designed to identify whether 634 public sector organisations, including government departments, local authorities, NHS trusts and universities, were adopting effective approaches to the widespread challenge of managing a growing number of devices on the network.

It looked at whether they were using network management tools effectively to manage challenges and whether they were looking ahead to plan for fresh challenges, such as the security and network bandwidth issues that can be expected, as employees rapidly adopt wearable technologies for personal and professional use.

Stephen Demianyk, director for UK and Ireland at Ipswitch, said: “Many cash-strapped public sector organisations are spending on network management tools offering features that they either don’t need, or will never use.  Meanwhile, they appear unable to easily gather fundamental data about the growing number of devices on their network.  It’s a perfect storm of device overload and performance degradation that they’ll struggle to manage.”

Demianyk believes that as BYOD and its various adaptions continue to gather momentum, and the adoption of wearable technology gathers pace, many organisations risk losing control of their network, their devices and the bandwidth needed to function.  He added: “public sector organisations should ask themselves what they really need to understand about their network, and ensure they’re using a solution closely aligned to this need.”

Other key findings include:

·       Almost three-quarters (73%) of PSOs manage 200 devices or more

·       39 percent of PSOs manage over 1000 devices

·       Under one-in-ten of (7%) PSOs don’t use any tools to manage their network

·       Most (65%) PSOs cannot distinguish between wired and wireless devices on their network

About the FOIA Request

The findings referred to in this release are from responses to a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request made in November 2013.  634 public sector organisations, including local authorities, government departments, NHS trusts and universities within the UK responded to the request.

 About Ipswitch

Ipswitch helps solve complex IT problems with simple solutions. The company’s software is trusted by millions of people worldwide to transfer files between systems, business partners and customers; and to monitor networks, applications and servers. Ipswitch was founded in 1991 and is based in Lexington, Massachusetts with offices throughout the U.S., Europe and Asia. For more information, visit www.ipswitch.com.

Charotte Hanson/ Lindsey Fishlock

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