Remote workers represent data security risk for over half of firms

Information and security rarely go hand in hand, and few will be surprised to learn that ongoing lockdowns are making a bad situation worse. Over half of organisations expect their remote workers to expose them to the risk of a data breach, according to a survey conducted last month. Some even went as far as to suggest that staff do not in fact care about data security.

These are the findings of a survey carried out by tech provider, Apricorn, which pointed to a steady increase in this number over the last two years (from 44% in 2018 and 50% in 2019).

In 2019 almost half of respondents (47%) admitted that their remote workers had already knowingly put corporate data at risk of a breach in the last year; this has now dropped slightly to 44%. Apathy continues to be a major problem, with just over a third (34%) of IT leaders saying their remote workers simply don’t care about security – exactly the same percentage as last year – which suggests organisations are struggling to get employees to buy into the security strategy.

Jon Fielding, managing director EMEA, Apricorn, says: "This year, the need for organisations to facilitate effective and secure remote working has been cast into the spotlight to an extent no-one could have anticipated. Our survey shows that while progress has been made in some key areas since 2019, some of the same risks – such as employee apathy or error – remain a problem. In these currently challenging times, when UK workers are being urged to work from home, it’s all the more important that security is a priority for everyone."

Employees unintentionally putting data at risk remains the leading cause of data breach (33%), with third parties mishandling corporate information cited as one of the main causes, at 23%.

Lost or misplaced devices are now the second greatest cause of a data breach – cited by almost a quarter of respondents (24%), up from 17% a year ago.

Conducted at the end of March, the research targeted 100 UK IT decision makers from enterprises within the financial services, IT, manufacturing, business and professional services sectors.

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