The Home Office, the lead government department responsible for immigration, security and law and order, has invested over £44 million since the pandemic on over 65,000 electronic devices including laptops, smartphones and tablets, according to official figures.

The data, retrieved via the Freedom of Information Act (FOI) and analysed by the Parliament Street think tank, observed the number of laptops, smartphones and tablets purchased by the Home Office each year from March 2019 to April 2022, as well as the cost per device.

The Home Office splashed £44,367,488 on 65,100 laptops, smartphones and tablets during the reporting period to support remote working staff during the Covid-19 pandemic.

There was a staggering 282% increase in spending on electronic devices off the back of the pandemic with the Home Office increasing spending from £5,514,950 in 2019 to £21,047,896 in 2021, fuelled by the onset of remote working.

Laptops accounted for 66% of the total outlay on devices, with £34,737,000 spent on 43,088 laptops. There was an enormous 324% increase in purchased laptops between 2019 and 2021.

The calendar year of 2021 saw the greatest investment from the Home Office, with 28,915 devices being purchased, totalling an overall expenditure of £21,047,896, as the Home Office looked to better equip staff for hybrid working.

Achi Lewis, area VP EMEA, Absolute Software, said:  “As we saw the pandemic force businesses to adapt to hybrid working, we have inevitably seen an increase in investment in electronic devices to manage the situation and it is positive to see the Home Office leading the charge in this area.

“But with a greater number of devices comes an increased attack surface, particularly with employees spread out away from centralised office networks. Devices that are used on off-site premises must be properly secured to minimise risk to both employee and employer. Ensuring a secure and resilient workforce is key to allowing a more flexible approach to working life.

“Incorporating resilient zero trust network access into organisations’ security infrastructure is a key way of confidently securing devices. The resilience is key to ensuring that trust is established and built upon, rather than having previously trusted devices immediately cut off – it may be that an employee is legitimately logging onto the network from a new coffee shop rather than their home network. Trusted devices can be better monitored, and organisations can have the option to freeze devices on a network at the touch of a button to ensure cybercriminals are unable to move laterally through a network and cause further damage once a device is compromised.”

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