HMRC invested in 37,624 laptops, tablets and phones in the last 12 months, and a grand total of 45,704 devices since October 2019, which was shortly before Covid 19 began and widespread remote working was introduced.
This is based on new data retrieved from the Freedom of Information FOI Act and analysed by a Parliament Street think tank, which observed the number of devices onboard by the HMRC in a 12 month period from October to September each year, from October to September each year.
The data showed that new devices had surged by 366 per cent this year, up from 8,080 in October-Sept 2020, to 37,624 in Oct-Sept 2021, compared to the same time period last year in October-Sept 2020.
In the period from October 2018 to September 2019, HMRC only recorded an increase of 600 new devices, which was the 12 month period preceding the Covid-19 Pandemic and mass remote working.
Mobile phones were the most popular device handed over to staffers 27,000 for Oct-Sept 2021, compared to 6,800 for Oct-Sept 2020, which is a 297 per cent increase. Tablets increased from just 580 in Oct-Sept 2020 to 9,924 in Oct-Sept 2021, a whopping 1,611 per cent increase.
The laptop count went up by 700 in both October-Sept 2020 and 2021, or 1,400 in total since the start of the epidemic.
The number of Microsoft Office 365 licenses assigned to HMRC also changed year on year. In the contract year beginning June 2019, HMRC increased the number of Office 365 licenses at their disposal by a significant 7,656. This figure saw a slight reduction by 292 in June 2020, but it went up again by 374 licenses in June 2021.
Since June 2019, HMRC has invested in 7,647 new Microsoft Office 365 licenses, accounting for the yearly differences. The most recent contract increase was approved shortly after HMRC agreed to allow staff to work from home for at least two day a week permanently, which was announced in May this year.
Sridhar Iyengar, MD for Zoho Europe, says that remote working is becoming the operational structure of choice for many organisations, and HMRC is no exception. It is good to see leaders invest in more devices as time goes on. Business leaders will be presented with even more opportunities once certain implementation challenges are overcome, as remote working has cost, efficiency and time-saving perks that many organisations are already capitalising on. With the purchase of these new devices, HMRC will be able to deploy purpose-built and cloud-based remote working tools and applications to help with communication, workflows or in-document collaboration. This will certainly help with day to day activities and administrative duties. Torsten George, Cyber Evangelist, Absolute Software commented : I applaud the leadership at HM Revenue and Customs for extending flexible working conditions for employees beyond the ongoing health crisis by allowing them to work from home at least two days a week. In this new work-from- anywhere era, HMRC must focus on creating and implementing a broader IT strategy that allows the whole organisation to work from anywhere. Richard Alvin, a former government advisor whose company Capital Business Media has been involved in flexible working for over a decade, said that all of our employees work from their own home to their own, a co-working space near to them, an airport lounge or a different country. By focusing on output and not on an outdated 9- 5 single location means of employment, HMRC will reap great rewards. A recent Ponemon Institute survey revealed that 68 percent of organisations had a successful endpoint attack within the last 12 months, so it is important that HMRC address the security dilemma otherwise they will be faced with disruptions, increased risks and costs.