Welcome to the new normal. Remote work and distance learning have officially arrived but with it comes some of the more alarming trends we’ve seen since the COVID crisis began. Device usage is up across enterprise and education, but critical security measures are increasingly inactive, missing, or out-of-date. This according to new Absolute Remote Work and Distance Learning Insights Center.

Within a few weeks of the World Health Organization officially declaring COVID-19 a global pandemic on March 11th, an estimated 16 million US employees – or nearly one-quarter of the workforce – were sent home and instructed to work remotely while governments around the world implemented widespread school closures impacting over 90 percent of the world’s student population.

Within this new normal of remote work and distance learning, device usage across the enterprise and within education is up significantly compared to pre-COVID according to Absolute’s new Remote Work and Distance Learning Insights Center. By 49 percent within the enterprise and 62 percent in education. Along with the usage uptick, endpoint security gaps across both sectors are also on the rise, putting sensitive data at greater risk, including:

Employee and student device usage continues to rise post-COVID.

The data shows a nearly 50 percent increase in the amount of heavy device usage – 8+ hours per day – seen across enterprise organizations, jumping to an increase of 62 percent seen in heavy education device usage. The average number of hours education endpoint devices are being used daily is also up 27 percent.

Device health sees slight improvement, but patch management continues to plague both enterprise and education IT teams.

The average enterprise endpoint device running Windows 10 continues to be nearly 3 months behind in applying the latest patch, with that delay spiking to more than 180 days since a patch has been applied to the average student Windows 10 device.

Enterprise organizations are at heightened risk of a breach or compliance violation.

One in four enterprise endpoint devices, on average, has a critical security application (Anti-Malware, Encryption, VPN, or Client Management) that is missing, inactive, or out-of-date.

Sensitive data is piling up on enterprise devices.

The data shows a 46 percent increase in the number of pieces of sensitive data – such as Personally Identifiable Information (PII) or Protected Health Information (PHI) – found to be stored on enterprise endpoints, compared to pre-COVID.

The newly released Remote Work and Distance Learning Insights Center enables enterprises and educational institutions to manage, measure and benchmark the health and security of their remote device programs, pre and post-COVID 19. It represents anonymized data from more than half of Absolute’s nearly 8.5 million activations and will be updated weekly.

Only Absolute can provide total visibility and, with self-healing capabilities, control over your entire device fleet. To learn more about how Absolute customers can more effectively secure and manage both remote work and distance learning environments through a single source of truth, visit our Coronavirus Response Resource Center.