Employees open companies to security risks by working remotely

According to a recent T-Systems study of 2,050 full-time UK workers, many feel the need to check work emails while on holiday. Those who do so need to understand the importance of using a secure connection to make sure they are not compromising business security and confidentiality.

Key findings included:

  • 31% have used free Wi-Fi hotspots and 24% admitted to using them to access work emails and documents.
  • 28% admitted to emailing work documents to and from their personal email address.
  • 10% have used free USB charging points at airports and stations.
  • 28% said that they had never received any cyber security training.
  • 18% confessed to connecting their cameras to work computers to import photos.
  • 15% admitted to using shared USB sticks and memory cards with their work computer.

Using an unsecure connection poses risks because the lack of security makes it easier for cyber criminals to access emails and passwords. Sending work-related emails to personal email accounts creates security problems as personal email accounts carry a lower security threshold than work email accounts. And using free charging points carries risks because they have the ability to transfer viruses and malware unbeknown to users.

Scott Cairns, UK head of cyber security at T-Systems, said:

Our research shows a third of employees use free Wi-Fi at locations such as those at airports, hotels, coffee shops and bars, despite these being unsecure and open to communication interception by cyber criminals. Couple this with the widespread practice of employees emailing documents to their private email on their own devices, where security is invariably lower, and you open your organisation to potential attacks.

He continued:

Where it is unavoidable, businesses should ensure there is training, and clear guidelines to be followed. This training is particularly important, as our research shows many employees are not knowledgeable on the multitude of ways their devices can be infected with viruses and malware… and those who thought they were ‘very knowledgeable’ frequently gave the wrong answer when questioned!

Protect your company

These threats are preventable and highlight the importance of a staff training programme. With our Information Security Staff Awareness E-Learning Course, your employees can learn about the most important elements of information security, including phishing, creating backups, portable media devices and business continuity.

The course also advises staff on how to avoid becoming a security liability, introducing them to your internal policies on incident reporting and responses.

Discover how our Information Security Staff Awareness E-Learning Course can help your staff be more careful >>