IT Professionals Not So Jolly This Holiday Season

More than a quarter (26 percent) of respondents said they will be on call Christmas Eve, with 10 percent even on call Christmas Day.

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A new survey of IT professionals finds that 49 percent said they are either on-call or working this holiday season. About the same percentage (52 percent) will be thinking about work when they're not in the office, according to network, servicer and application monitoring specialist Ipswitch, whose study is based on a poll of 206 IT pros in the United States.

More than a quarter (26 percent) of respondents said they will be on call Christmas Eve, with 10 percent even on call Christmas Day.

Fewer respondents said they'd be on call as 2014 rolls over into the New Year. Just 9 percent said they'd be on call New Year's Eve, and 4 percent are expected to be paying attention New Year's Day.

"While the office may be closed, the expectation exists that workers will be able to access the network as needed, even if they are on vacation," Daniel Okine, Ipswitch director of product management, told eWEEK. "Users who want to work over the holidays often run into common challenges like forgetting passwords or setting up remote access, and rather than rely on detailed instructions from IT, they will request IT support."

In addition, most companies depend on their Websites to be the first point of contact for customers and potential customers, Okine said.

"With a more global workforce and customer base, companies must be able to cater to various time zones, cultures and customs, even through the holidays. Every minute the network or the site is down is a blow to productivity," he said."Further, we have to remember security for the network never takes vacation. It requires constant vigilance to ensure that an organization's most critical data is kept safe."

Since many users aren't experienced remote workers, when they attempt to be online over the holidays, survey respondents noted that more than half (57 percent) of users experience problems with network access.

Other user and network issues like poor application performance and forgotten passwords tied for second place (18 percent apiece).

When asked who would top their own "naughty list," survey respondents identified executives (24 percent) and fellow employees (20 percent), with only 12 percent choosing vendors.

Nearly one-third (32 percent) of all survey respondents noted all three groups of people deserve a little coal in their stockings.

According to the IT pros polled, the gadgets identified as most likely to disrupt their IT network were smartphones (35 percent), wearable technology (26 percent), laptops (23 percent) and tablets (16 percent)—all gadgets at the top of most consumers' lists.

"The more devices connected to the network, the more potential points of vulnerability and network interruption exist. Workers have come to rely upon their mobile device as their primary connection to the network, even more so than their company-issued laptop," Okine said. "If their service is interrupted, they will be looking to IT to rectify the issue and quickly. Complicating matters is that these devices are typically the property of the employee, giving IT even less control over what exists on the device and less insight into potential problems."

Meanwhile, a third of respondents said they had experienced a major network outage during a company holiday.