Security Market Segment LS
Thursday, 02 July 2020 12:50

Aussies WFH understand cyber security but take risks anyway

By

Working at home during lockdown has improved security awareness, but productivity — or convenience — still trumps security for many workers.

A survey conducted by security vendor Trend Micro has found that more than two-thirds (67%) of Australian’s remote workers say they are more conscious of their organisation’s cybersecurity policies since lockdown began.

And 83% say they take instructions from their IT team seriously.

That's the good news.

The bad news is that the actions they admit to often do not align with those policies or good practices.

Seventy-nine percent use their work laptop for personal browsing, and only 31% of them are extremely careful about which sites they visit. 7% admit to accessing porn on their work laptop, and 7% access the dark web. No information was provided about the proportion of work laptops that were equipped with endpoint security software that blocks access to known malicious sites or that includes a content filter.

It seems that employees often put their own convenience or productivity ahead of security considerations, suggesting that organisations aren't doing enough to provide a productive IT environment.

For example, 51% of employees admit to using a non-work application on a corporate device, and 68% of them have uploaded corporate data to that application.

That could include using file synchronisation services such as Dropbox to make files more easily accessible on personal devices such as tablets, or adding records to the native contacts app on a device – especially as 37% of respondents say they often or always access corporate data from a personal device, even though that is most likely a policy breach.

One third don't worry whether the apps are IT approved, and almost a quarter think they'll get away with it, especially when they think the official approach is inadequate.

"Although there is a high level of security awareness in Australia, it's concerning to see that some learned employee behaviour continues to create vulnerabilities for organisations," said Trend Micro ANZ commercial managing director Ashley Watkins.

"Whilst many employees are aware of the risks, the statistics show that this isn’t necessarily translating into action, so organisations need to identity and address this through training – now more than ever.

"Australian organisations are starting to determine their working from home policies into the future as restrictions ease and some slowly transition back to the office environment, so as part of this it’s important to ensure the existing awareness converts to clear process, policy and action."

The Australian findings were drawn from a wider survey of 13,200 remote workers in 27 countries.


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Stephen Withers

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Stephen Withers is one of Australia¹s most experienced IT journalists, having begun his career in the days of 8-bit 'microcomputers'. He covers the gamut from gadgets to enterprise systems. In previous lives he has been an academic, a systems programmer, an IT support manager, and an online services manager. Stephen holds an honours degree in Management Sciences and a PhD in Industrial and Business Studies.

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