“Even if clients have given security approval to IT firms for WFH, many CIOs have obtained these approvals from the management with much difficulty” said an IT outsourcing advisor.
“Most CIOs are on their toes, given the security risks it poses with regard to possible leakage of sensitive data. So, it will be difficult for IT companies
to get those approvals during normal times,” he added.
“Also, the level of privacy available to junior employees in a WFH set-up in offshore locations like India is another matter of concern for clients,” the person added. In the light of the crisis, more than 90 per cent of the employees of most IT services companies
are working from home. To enable such large-scale remote working, many IT firms have relocated computer desktops to their employees’ homes, apart from providing them with other forms of infrastructure support.
In some cases, companies
have set up servers in large apartments in which a chunk of their workforce resides.
Given the successful implementation of this model, many IT firms are now planning to make it a permanent feature. Tata Consultancy Services, for example, has said it hopes around 75 per cent of its employees to work from home
permanently by 2025. Even Infosys and Wipro have shown their willingness to adopt this model. Also, WFH can be one of the factors in reducing SG&A (sales & general administration) costs, supplementing the operating margin of these companies.
However, while the top management of IT firms has been enthusiastic about institutionalising WFH, their clients are worried about possible data breach
with respect to client confidentiality.
“Though it looks attractive to adopt WFH on a large scale, any data breach
due to malware or ransomware attack can lead to loss of contract for the IT firm. The recent Maze ransomware attack on Cognizant is a case in point. So, any such incident may lead to higher insourcing by clients as seen in the case of banking institutions,” said a person who provides research support to IT firms globally.