Although most remote workers say they are aware of IT security issues, their behaviour – behaviour that includes sharing work computers with non-employees, opening unknown emails, and hijacking neighbours’ wireless networks – suggests otherwise.
A new study of more than 1,000 teleworkers in 10 countries commissioned by networking equipment maker Cisco, spotlights the challenge that behavioural and cultural tendencies create for IT security teams as more employees work outside of traditional offices – a business practice that may enhance productivity but can jeopardise corporate and personal security.
“Whether they work at home, at a café, or in a hotel, numerous findings indicate that remote workers aggravate network security concerns because of a false sense of awareness,” says Cisco. In fact, while two out of every three teleworkers surveyed (66%) said they are aware of security concerns when working remotely, many admitted behaviour that contradicts that.
More than one of every five remote workers surveyed (21%) said they allow friends, family members or other non-employees to use their work computer to access the Internet, expressing views such as: “I don’t see anything wrong with it”; “My company doesn’t mind me doing so”; “I don’t think letting them use it increases security risks”.
Only 27% of remote workers surveyed in the UK admitted that they use their work computers for personal activities, 53% said they shop online when working remotely. Their thinking: “Shopping online can’t result in security problems”; “I think my work computer is more secure than my home computer.”