Cisco Study - Remote workers need to follow more secure practices
Professionals who work at home should ensure they are following the best practices as well as ethically providing a good full day of work for their employers. This Cisco study highlighted some areas of security concern for remote workers.
Cisco Study on Remote Workers Reveals Need for Greater Diligence Toward Security
QUOTE: Some of the key findings and reasons for risky behavior in year two include:
- Opening emails and attachments from unknown or suspicious sources: Although it is one of the age-old security risks, many remote workers admit that they still open suspicious emails and attachments despite the potential for triggering malware attacks. China (62 percent) is the most egregious offender. But arguably more disturbing is a growing trend in entrenched Internet-adopter countries like the United Kingdom (48 percent), Japan (42 percent), Australia (34 percent) and the United States (27 percent). For example, in Japan, 14 percent admit they open both an unknown or suspicious email and any attachments.
- Using work computers and devices for personal use: A 3 percentage-point increase year-over-year shows that more remote workers use corporate devices for personal use, such as Internet shopping, downloading music, and visiting social networking sites. This trend occurs in eight of the 10 countries, and the highest year-to-year spike occurs in France (27 percent to 50 percent). In Brazil, this trend rose 16 percentage points despite an increasing number of respondents agreeing that this was unacceptable behavior (37 percent to 52 percent year-over-year).
Reasons Offered: "My company doesn't mind me doing so", "I'm alone and have spare time", "My boss isn't around", "My IT department will support me if something goes wrong".
- Allowing non-employees to borrow work computers and devices for personal use: As employees work more from home, the likelihood increases that they will share corporate devices with non-employees (e.g. family, roommates) who are not educated by IT or held to a company's security policies. This trend is increasing. While China features the highest rate of "device sharing" for the year (39 percent), the United Kingdom (from 7 percent in 2006 to 22 percent in 2007) and France (from 15 percent to 26 percent) reveal steep year-over-year increases.
Reasons Offered: "I don't see anything wrong with it", "My company doesn't mind me doing so", "I don't think it increases security risks", "Co-workers do it".
- Hijacking wireless Internet connections from neighbors: Globally, 12 percent of remote workers admit to accessing a neighbor's wireless connection, with threefold year-to-year increases in Japan (6 percent to 18 percent) and France's 10 percent year-to-year rise (5 percent to 15 percent) representing the fastest-growing rates. China (from 19 percent in 2006 to 26 percent in 2007) and the United Kingdom (from 6 percent to 11 percent) also feature significant increases.
Reasons Offered: "I needed it because I was in a bind", "It's more convenient than using my wireless connection", "I can't tell if I'm using my own or my neighbor's wireless connection", "My neighbor doesn't know, so it's OK".
- Accessing work files with personal, non-IT-protected devices: Accessing corporate networks and files with devices that are not protected by an employee's IT team presents security risks to the company, its information and its employees. As the number of remote workers grows, the study reveals an annual rise (45 percent in 2006 to 49 percent in 2007) in this behavior. It's widespread in many countries, especially China (76 percent), the United States (55 percent), Brazil (52 percent) and France (48 percent).
Reasons Offered: "These devices are secure with antivirus and other content security software", "I regularly use these devices to access my network", "My IT department has said it's OK to do so".