Friday 13 December 2019

Businesses are remotely at risk

Karen O’Connor, General Manager, Service Delivery Division
Karen O’Connor, General Manager, Service Delivery Division

An Enniscorthy based company has revealed that 27 per cent of Irish office workers are putting their businesses at risk by using unencrypted mobile devices to access or store company data.

Datapac conducted a joint survey with Sophos - a global leader in network and endpoint security - into security concerns associated with remote working and increased mobility and found that 350,000 people are potentially putting their businesses at risk of being compromised.

Unprotected data leaves sensitive company information vulnerable to hackers and could potentially lead to identity theft, fraud, and theft of financial resources from employees and customers.

According to the survey, around 45 per cent of office based employees in Ireland use mobile devices including laptops, tablets and smartphones, to access or store company data.

Such storage includes work emails or business documents.

Speaking about the survey findings Karen O'Connor, Datapac's General Manager, said there is an increasing demand for more flexible working options by today's workforce and that employers are incorporating greater mobility in an effort to attract the best talent.

'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,' said Ms O'Connor.

She said implementing such measures would lead to employees being able to safely enjoy a more flexible work style.

The survey also discovered that many employees fail to implement and maintain adequate security measures on both their work and personal devices.

Significantly, almost one-in-four office workers [24 per cent] have ignored a security update request on a work device while 75 per cent 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 WiFi pose another risk for businesses and 42 per cent of those surveyed who use their own devices for work don't use any anti-virus software.

Ms O'Connor said a worrying finding from the survey was that '15 per cent 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,' she said.

Ricky Knights, the Channel Engagement Manager for UK and Ireland with Sophos, also commented on the survey results and said that 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 them suffering a business data breach,' said Mr Knights.

Wexford People