HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) has spent over £90m on remote working technologies in the last three financial years, according to official figures.
The data, obtained using Freedom of Information (FOI) legislation by the Parliament Street think tank, revealed that the taxman spent a total of £90,566,908 purchasing 187,427 devices, which include laptops, mobiles, tablet computers and desktops.
The data revealed that during the three-year period HMRC purchased 67,362 laptops outright and 22,400 under a lease-buy scheme. Overall, the total cost of laptops came to £64,919,643.
Meanwhile HMRC spent a further £11,224,100 on tablet computers. 54,000 tablets were bought under a lease-buy arrangement, with 4,180 purchased outright.
Mobile phones were also in demand at HMRC with 38,813 acquired for the cost of £14,011,745. Additionally, 672 desktop computers were obtained for the cost of £411,420.
Responding to the findings, security expert Suid Adeyanju, CEO, RiverSafe, said, “As one of the largest employers in the UK, it’s encouraging to see HMRC equipping staff members with critical remote working technologies. However, as an organisation tasked with managing the personal details of millions of individuals and businesses, it’s vital that all staff are trained in the latest cyber awareness programmes and have the right technology in place to protect data in the event of loss or theft of a device.
Adeyanju continued, “Remote working will continue to play a crucial role in driving economic growth, but with it comes increased risk of a data breach or ransomware attack, so upskilling and reskilling existing employees should be a top priority for all government departments.”
Security specialist Andy Ward, VP, Absolute Software said, “Remote working plays a crucial role in allowing employees to operate efficiently, but the reality is that every new device purchase is a potential access point for cyber criminals. Organisations tasked with managing large volumes of highly confidential data should have the systems in place to track, block and wipe all information in the event of loss or theft.
“Additionally, having the ability to securely access corporate data across all mobile devices whatever network you’re on is crucial to remaining productive whilst ensuring the highest standards of security continue to be met. Taking a zero trust approach to making sure the right information is being accessed, by the right people, at the right time across all devices whatever network they’re using will help keep hackers and insider threats at bay.”
Tech expert Sridhar Iyengar, Managing Director of Europe, Zoho said: “Forward thinking organisations will continue to invest in remote working technologies like laptops and tablets, but this is the initial step in empowering employees with the devices they need to thrive in the workplace. This must be coupled with a long-term strategy to grant workers access to the latest software, enabling seamless collaboration on projects and facilitating their professional development.
“Only by having a holistic approach to remote work and employee empowerment will organisations fully leverage the advantages offered by digital technologies and unlock their true potential.”