Corporate data at risk from lack of remote worker security

Almost half of organisation’s mobile and remote workers have knowingly put corporate data at risk of a breach according to a survey published by data storage solutions provider Apricorn. The research found that 89% of organisations surveyed have experienced a data breach, and that human error is still the prevailing cause.

Nearly two thirds (63%) of respondents noted that human error was the main cause of a data breach within their organisation – including mobile workers, unintentional error, or employees with malicious intent. A lack of encryption and phishing emails also ranked in the top five main causes. This parallels earlier findings from a Twitter poll of 12,500 users carried out by Apricorn in February which found that humans, whether through malicious intent or unintentional error, were almost twice the threat to personal data than technology itself.

Almost half of organisations’ (47%) remote workers have knowingly put corporate data at risk of a breach, and over a third (34%) of respondents stated that their organisation’s mobile/remote workers “don’t care” about security. Jon Fielding, managing director EMEA at Apricorn, said: “It’s unfathomable to think that even with GDPR now in full swing, employees – and remote workers in particular – have such disregard for the security of corporate data they are responsible for and the risk they pose.

“Be it ignorance, defiance, or just simply a lack of care, employees are failing to engage even the most basic security measures, with no consideration for the consequences of their actions, or inaction in most circumstances.”

When questioned on the biggest problems associated with implementing a cyber security plan for remote/mobile working, 30% of respondents stated that managing all of the technology employees require for mobile working is too complex. Just under a quarter of respondents (21%) stated that they cannot be certain that their data is adequately secured for remote/mobile working, with 14% highlighting that they have no control over where company data goes and where it is stored. Additionally, half of the organisations surveyed expect that mobile and remote workers will expose their business to a breach, showing a huge mistrust in their employees’ ability to keep data secure.

The research was conducted by survey company Censuswide, which interviewed 100 IT decision makers in the UK from finance, business and professional services, IT, telecoms, manufacturing and utilities organisations with more than 1,000 employees.

Fielding added: “Organisations need to build a security-first culture to protect data on the move and limit the risks posed by human error, while employees need to be aware of the risks facing them and the serious implications of data loss for their employer.”

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