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Wednesday, 28 July 2021 13:36

Global workers engage in risky cybersecurity practices despite awareness

By ThycoticCentrify

GUEST RESEARCH: Cloud identity security solutions provider ThycoticCentrify commissioned a global survey that polled more than 8,000 users in order to assess if workers are complying with cybersecurity rules. However, the survey found that 79% of respondents have engaged in at least one risky activity.

Workers are engaging in risky behaviours which could jeopardise their company’s security, despite understanding the dangers, according to market research by Sapio Research, which was commissioned by ThycoticCentrify.

The global survey polled more than 8,000 employees, including over 2,500 respondents in Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, Malaysia, India, and Japan.

The survey examines global workers to find out if they are following cybersecurity practices.

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The results are concerning, particularly when considered in the wider context of remote or hybrid working.

The survey found that 79% of respondents have engaged in one least one risky activity over the past year (Australia and New Zealand - ANZ 83%, Singapore/Malaysia 81%, India 90%, Japan 67%).

This included:
• 35% who saved passwords in their browser in the last year (ANZ 43%, Singapore/Malaysia 36%, India 39%, Japan 28%)
• 32% who used one password to access multiple sites (ANZ 42%, Singapore/Malaysia 37%, India 33%, Japan 24%), and
• 23% who connected a personal device to the corporate network (ANZ 25%, Singapore/Malaysia 29%, India 36%, Japan 13%).

Despite almost all respondents (98%) are aware of clicking links from unknown sources or sharing credentials with colleagues are a risk, only 16% of respondents feel their organisation is at a very high risk of a cybersecurity attack (ANZ 15%, Singapore/Malaysia 23%, India 22%, Japan 35%).

This feeling was contradicted by 79% of respondents who saw an increase in the number of fraudulent and phishing messages in the last year (ANZ 75%, Singapore/Malaysia 89%, India 94%, Japan 71%).

“People working in the cybersecurity sector know how their colleagues should behave when it comes to keeping their devices safe and protecting the wider company. But are these messages getting through?” questions ThycoticCentrify chief security scientist and advisory chief information security officer Joseph Carson.

Carson encourages employers to redouble their efforts in order to carry the best possible digital security practices and remind staff of the risks of failing to secure networks.

“A ransomware attack or major breach has major consequences which can last for years, so every organisation needs to establish security processes and work to ensure they resonate with employees,” Carson warns.

Just 44% of respondents received cybersecurity training in the past year (ANZ 43%, Singapore/Malaysia 54%, India 64%, Japan 37%). This means that more than half of the employees surveyed were left to cope alone with the fearsome threat landscape created by home working. Smaller organisations were the least likely to have given their staff cybersecurity training over the past year.

“Remote or hybrid working also poses a particular challenge to security, so organisations should be sure to embed good practices in their staff no matter where they are working from,” Carson continues.

Staff are more likely to rate the cyber risk to their organisation as high (55% compared to 43%) if they have been trained, indicating a better understanding of the risks.

Additional key findings include:

Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMBs) at higher risk
• People working in SMBs are least likely to have received cybersecurity training in the past year.
• Just under half (47%) of those who work at companies with more than 5,000 employees underwent training in the last 12 months compared to 20% of employees at companies with less than 10 staff and 32% at organisations with between 11 to 50 employees.
• Those at smaller companies perceive their risk to be lower, with just 37% of employees at organisations with one to ten employees saying there is a high risk, compared with 50% at organisations with more than 100 employees.
• Smaller companies were also least likely to have implemented protection such as multi factor authentication (MFA) or Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) compared to larger organisations.

Personal responsibility for security
• The survey revealed an overarching sense of responsibility among employees, with 86% agreeing that they have a personal responsibility to ensure they do not expose their organisation to cyberthreats (ANZ 90%, Singapore/Malaysia 95%, India 89%, Japan 80%)
• 51% say they still think IT departments should have sole responsibility to protect companies (ANZ 50%, Singapore/Malaysia 70%, India 69%, Japan 35%).

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