Industry & Business

Irish Businesses at Risk as 350,000 Office Workers Use Unsecure Devices For Remote Working

Irish Businesses at Risk as 350,000 Office Workers Use Unsecure Devices For Remote Working

Irish Businesses at Risk as 350,000 Office Workers Use Unsecure Devices For Remote Working
August 14
16:45 2019

Datapac, a leading technology solutions and services provider, and Sophos, a global leader in network and endpoint security, have announced the results of a joint survey on security concerns associated with remote working and increased mobility. The survey found that more than one-quarter (27%) of Irish office workers – approximately 350,0001 people – use an unencrypted mobile device to access or store company data. Unprotected data leaves sensitive company information vulnerable to hackers, potentially leading to identity theft, fraud, and theft of financial resources from employees and customers.

According to the survey, almost half (45%) of office-based employees in Ireland – amounting to more than 600,000 people2 – use mobile devices, including laptops, tablets and smartphones, to access or store company data, such as work emails or business documents. While increased mobility facilitates flexible and remote working, there remains significant security concerns around the trend.

The survey discovered that many employees fail to implement and maintain adequate security measures on both their work and personal devices. For instance, almost one-in-four office workers (24%) have ignored a security update request on a work device. The vast majority (75%) don’t use two factor authentication – such as a code from a mobile phone – when accessing their company network for remote working on a personal device. Employees using public Wi-Fi pose another risk for businesses, with more 27% admitting to connecting to unsecure public Wi-Fi networks without a password for remote work.

With regards to personal devices used for work purposes, 42% of office workers who use their own devices don’t use any anti-virus software. In fact, 11% of Irish office workers who use their personal devices for work purposes don’t take any measures to ensure their devices are adequately protected and secured.

Also worrying is that 15% of office workers who use their own devices admitted that they wouldn’t inform their employer if their laptop or other personal device used for work was lost or stolen. The loss of these devices may pose a serious risk to businesses if they are not adequately secured and controlled.

Ricky Knights, Channel Engagement Manager for UK and Ireland, Sophos, commented: “While employers are increasingly providing employees with corporate laptops and phones to enable remote working, basic security measures, such as encryption and anti-virus protection, are often lacking.

“Employers need to understand that this greatly increases the risk of suffering a data breach, which can expose sensitive customer and company information. Mobile device management solutions can help businesses to put security controls in place on these devices and ensure that only approved devices can gain access to the company network.”

Karen O’Connor (pictured), General Manager, Datapac, said: “More flexible working options are increasingly in demand by today’s workforce and employers are incorporating greater mobility in an effort to attract the best talent. However, employers must not lose sight of their obligations to protect sensitive data.

“Putting access rights management controls in place, implementing two-factor authentication processes, and restricting network access for unencrypted and unauthorised devices are all essential elements in guarding against hackers and rising cybercrime. With these protective procedures in place, employees can securely enjoy a more flexible workstyle.”

1&2 Figures based on total Irish office workers as according to Q1 2019 CSO statistics

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