Cloud Security Report

How work and play changed in 2020

The way we work and play has changed significantly during 2020, no one could have predicted the challenges that would be encountered or how they would be solved. Our research has revealed that although many of the issues have been patched, the search for long-term solutions is on-going.

Many businesses are struggling to enable collaboration between workers at home and the solution may come from how we solve socializing digitally in our personal lives. As users we are drawn to services with intuitive experiences and the long-term success of remote working may rely on business adopting tools that provide this.

In this report we share trends that reveal how we have adapted to living and working from home. Our findings show that to collaborate and socialize remotely we need digital tools that are intuitive and natural to use.

Key findings

Video conferencing is on the rise: Average daily Zoom users up as much as 250% compared to pre-pandemic levels.

Mobile devices are increasingly being used for work: Corporate mobile device access to Microsoft OneDrive doubled during lockdown.

Maintaining customer relationships became a priority: Daily unique user counts for both SAP and Oracle showed peaks of twice as many users as pre-pandemic levels.

The importance of visual communication has grown: Instagram users up 20% on pre-pandemic levels.

More time was spent digitally socializing: Daily Tinder users up by as much as 45% during lockdown.

Research methodology

We created the “How work and play changed in 2020” report using proprietary customer data gathered by the Wandera Security Cloud which utilizes 425 million sensors to gather data. This data is used by Wandera to identify security and access trends, and every byte of user and business information is anonymized to protect their individual usage.

The data in this report has been carefully normalized as our customers range in size, from less than tens employees to hundreds of thousands. There has also been standardization across geographies and industries to ensure the findings in this report are valid. Where third party-data is quoted we have made efforts to use only credible, respected sources.

Work in 2020

Many businesses had no choice but to adapt to COVID-19: video calls replaced face-to-face meetings overnight, flexible working was implemented to help team members shelter at home, and internal processes had to be fully digitalized. Although the long-term impact of these changes still needs to be seen, predictions estimate that 73% of all departments will have remote workers by 2028, but recent public health events have accelerated this trend. A recent Gartner survey revealed that 74% of CFOs and Finance leaders plan to move part of their previously on-site workforce to permanently remote positions.

In the immediate rush to support at home workers businesses expanded cloud storage and bought more remote access licences, with VPN services growing in use by over 160%. Despite this, 87% of senior managers admit to regularly uploading work files to personal email or cloud accounts and Gartner predicts that 60% of businesses will ditch VPN by 2023. Permanently moving to a remote working model will require businesses to reevaluate the tools that they use.

Work in 2020

Conferencing

Average daily Zoom users up as much as 250% compared to pre-pandemic levels.

As many countries across the world began remote working due to the coronavirus, demand for conferencing tools grew significantly. Zoom was immediately identified as a company with a huge amount of growth potential, which it succeeded in fulfilling. Wandera investigated this growth in tools that enable remote working at the start of May, and we can now see that Zoom has held onto the customers that they gained during lockdown. Google Hangouts also saw a large increase in usage, however those levels of usage haven’t been maintained as well.

BlueJeans, after a slow start, continued to see growth after the other services we analysed had their growth plateau or even go negative. BlueJeans was acquired by Verizon on May 15th 2020 after Verizon saw the rapid growth of remote working tools on their own network in April. Since the start of September we’ve seen this decline back towards pre-pandemic levels.

Work in 2020

Cloud Storage

Corporate mobile device access to Microsoft OneDrive doubled during lockdown.

While most cloud storage services remained steady in their usage over the course of lockdown, we have seen a small steady increase, followed by a large spurt of growth in OneDrive usage. This left OneDrive with as many as twice the number of daily mobile users compared to before lockdown, which has more recently come back down to normal user counts.

Work in 2020

Customer Relationship Management

Daily unique user counts for both SAP and Oracle showed peaks of twice as many users as pre-pandemic levels.

Customer Relationship Management (CRM) services experienced general growth across the board, with Oracle CX and SAP seeing the largest growth. CRM services were identified as a category with the potential to benefit from the pandemic, with companies finding ways to enable handling of customer relations from a work from home environment. Both Oracle CX and SAP have had periods during lockdown in which they saw over twice as many daily users than an average day pre-pandemic.

Play in 2020

When countries first began imposing restrictions and locking down Fortune deemed it the “world’s largest work-from-home experiment”. While this reflects the change COVID-19 had on businesses it fails to encapsulate the magnitude of the impact it had on people’s personal lives. Consumer habits changed as the profits of online grocery stores doubled almost overnight, exercise routines changed with on-demand and virtual training services soaring with subscriptions rate rising 66% within weeks, and social events went digital as people tried to stay in touch.

Noticeably, digital socializing has decreased after the initial burst in demand with many people finding Zoom parties and similar events awkward. This is mirrored in the business world, with many organizations reporting a drop in collaboration by 11% when restricted to virtual meetings. Businesses should pay attention to consumer trends as they may hold the key to unlocking working-from-home collaboration.

Play in 2020

Dating Apps

Daily Tinder users up by as much as 45% during lockdown.

Online dating services, specifically Tinder and Bumble, have seen substantial growth during lockdown as the pandemic prevents users from meeting new people in person. Tinder in particular had the highest growth, with peak daily users being nearly 50% higher than an average day pre-pandemic. Towards the end of the period we see the beginning of Hinge’s growth kicking in.

Play in 2020

News Sites

The Daily Mirror’s website used by a third more users than before the pandemic.

Total daily users for various news sites have seen different trends depending on the site in question. The BBC, The Daily Mail, The NY Post and Flipboard, the news curation platform, have all been very stable. The Mirror has seen consistent growth, with usage currently up ~33% on pre-pandemic levels. CNN and The Guardian have been the sites to struggle over the last 6 months, with steady declines leaving daily users down ~15% and ~25% respectively. During the US election, CNN’s daily users increased significantly, with The Guardian in the UK also showing increased numbers of readers.

Play in 2020

Social Media

Instagram users up 20% on pre-pandemic levels

Social media usage has been a relatively stable category during the pandemic, with growth/decline in total users being relatively small. However, Instagram has seen some success, after some initial instability, leaving current counts up almost 20% on pre-pandemic levels. Twitter suffered the most over the lockdown period, with its lowest user counts being 14% lower than earlier in the year, however this was more than recovered during the period of the US election.

Summary

This year has proven how resilient and adaptable businesses and individuals are. While businesses have continued to operate and personal lives have continued despite social restrictions the technology we use to do so may not be here for much longer. Zoom proved ineffectual as a social tool and VPN is proving unfit for mass en masse working from home.

Discovering the secret to successfully socializing digitally could prove the key to increasing collaboration between workers at home. Trends indicate that the solution could be adopting an enterprise-grade but consumer-friendly approach to remote working. With cloud storage access from smartphones doubling, the data also suggests that we increasingly prefer to use mobile devices to work.

Interestingly, a 2017 study by Jacob Morgan revealed that companies investing in employee experience outperform competitors and grow 1.5x faster. It is no surprise then that a study by Deloitte found that almost 80 percent of executives see employee experience as a priority. As remote working becomes part of modern life and businesses should seek out intuitive tools for their employees, embracing modern solutions for the modern challenges they face.