The cyber threat within – a third of British workers breach IT policies…
Over a third of UK employees knowingly flaunt their companies’ IT policy opening a cyber-gateway to fraud, according to new research by leading network support company, Lifeline IT.
The cyber-security experts, who specialise in managing network systems for businesses, have unveiled the results of their fifth annual independent IT trends survey, canvassing opinions from over a thousand workers.
It revealed that one of the biggest threats of cyber-attacks, harmful viruses and fraud for employers actually comes from within their own workforce who often ignore IT policies.
Only 42% of workers know their company’s IT policy, while nearly a third admitted they weren’t even sure if their employer had one, and a quarter said there wasn’t one in place.
Almost two in 10 workers admitted visiting restricted worksites and going on social media, while 13% downloaded non-work related items such as YouTube clips and 10% circulated prohibited material including emoticons.
More seriously, an alarming one in 10 said they had altered their computer settings, including removing firewalls, to gain greater access to the internet and two per cent have even opened quarantined or spam emails.
Lifeline IT co-founder and Director, Daniel Mitchell said: “Companies go to great lengths and invest heavily to protect their businesses from cyber fraud yet a third of their employees are flaunting IT policies, leaving them vulnerable to attack. “
When it comes to using their own personal IT equipment, over two-thirds of respondents claimed to be ‘really careful’ about security, with more than 60% saying they regularly updated anti-virus software and firewalls.
Nearly four in ten also changed their password at least once a quarter and almost half only bought products online using a secure payment portal such as PayPal or a banking chip and pin reader.
“It’s clear that the majority of people are security conscious about IT on the home-front but have a different attitude at work,” said Daniel.
“It’s up to bosses to ensure that employees also realise how crucial it is in the work place, after all it’s everyone’s livelihood that’s at stake. And it’s not just in the office – bosses also need to consider how secure their remote IT is, as more people than ever work while on the move or from home.”
The survey found that over two-thirds worked from home at some point, with nearly one in ten logging on most evenings and weekends.
Nearly two-thirds of those used their own personal computer to carry out their work, with just under a quarter having a work laptop. Over a quarter logged in via a Virtual Private Network (VPN) or a remote desktop to access work systems and just under a third admitted they kept work information on their personal equipment, including laptop, phone or tablet.
“Basically, if your IT security isn’t in place across all devices that employees use then it’s an open invitation to hackers and fraudsters,” said Daniel.
Lifeline IT is a network support company which manages, sets up and develops IT systems for businesses across a variety of different sectors, including accountancy and finance, retail and property.
With more than 20 years’ experience in the IT industry, it has specialist interest in advising small businesses and Lifeline IT is a Microsoft Small Business Specialist.
For further information about Lifeline IT and to download the full ‘The Cyber Threat Within The UK’s Workforce’ report available from w/c May 25, go to www.lifelineit.net
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