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Poor security habits threaten remote work

A new remote workforce study from CyberArk has found that the majority of UK employees feel more productive at home and want to continue remote work, even after it’s deemed safe to return to offices. However, poor security practices could force businesses to reconsider the long-term viability of remote work.

Remote Work Challenges: Family Disruptions and Zoom Fatigue

As the pandemic forced more of our in-person lives into virtual environments, remote workers have had to overcome several challenges to balance their work and personal lives.

  • Almost half (49%) admitted to having technology issues with connecting to corporate systems and resources.
  • 43% of remote employees cite balancing work and personal life as the biggest challenge of remote work, followed by disruption from family and pets (35%), and ‘Zoom fatigue’ (29%).
  • Despite these challenges, employees also recognise the distinct benefits of remote work – including saving time on commuting (44%), being able run errands (19%) and catch up on household chores between meetings (18%).

Balancing Security, Productivity and Convenience

One in two remote workers (51%) percent also admit to finding workarounds to corporate security policies to maintain productivity, including sending work documents to personal email addresses, sharing passwords, and installing rogue applications. However poor security habits go far beyond sidestepping a policy or two, and a lack of relevant education is consolidating these poor behaviours.Just 40% of the employees surveyed said they had received remote-work specific security training, and as a result:

  • Half (50%) admit to using corporate devices for personal use.
  • 28% admit that they allow other members of their household to use their corporate devices for activities like schoolwork, gaming and shopping – a 75%increase from a similar survey conducted in the spring.
  • 90% admit to reusing passwords.

“The Covid-19 pandemic has been a huge accelerant for UK PLC to consider - and swiftly adopt - remote working on a grand scale. Employees across the UK demonstrated incredible resilience, rising to the challenge of blending their home and work lives – and overcoming all stresses associated with this,” says Rich Turner, SVP EMEA at CyberArk. “Two national lockdowns later, as we continue to adapt to this new way of operating, it is the combined responsibility of both organisations and employees to ensure that the sensitive information held by all organisations is not endangered by remote working. Companies should continuously implement and reinforce user-friendly tools and policies. Simultaneously, employees must operate to a higher standard of security at home so as not to become an attack vector for attackers to easily exploit.”

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