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November 6, 2014

Are remote workers a security risk to company data?

Putting confidential business information at risk.

By CBR Staff Writer

Recently published research has found that a quarter of employees breach the company’s security guidelines to remote working, putting the confidential business data at risk.

The research, by data storage and information security firm Imation, cites inadequate remote working policies and little employee awareness as main reasons behind this.

The research also reported how a third of employees carry unprotected and unencrypted business data away from the office, with 46% of them storing personal and work files on the same device or in the same cloud.

Nearly two in five had either personally lost, or had stolen, a device such as laptops, mobile phones, and USB sticks in public places, with a third them containing confidential emails, files and customer data .

Imation’s IronKey Solutions EMEA and APAC VP Nick Banks said: "Companies may not be aware of the amount of data that’s leaving offices unsecured.

"In addition, half of respondents said that nobody would notice, at least some of the time, if they were to take data away from the office and lose it.

"It’s obvious that poor security and lack of understanding of what happens to corporate data are putting organisations at risk of a data breach."

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Around one-tenth of employees lost financial data or access details including login and password data, putting the even more confidential information at risk of a data breach.

Concerned about their companies’ remote working policies, 41% of employees suggested either not possessing the right tools to work remotely, or their tools to be enhanced. Over a quarter of them claim to have breached the company’s remotely work policy either knowingly or unknowingly.

Banks added: "These figures emphasise the urgent need for businesses to ensure that their employees have the necessary tools to work flexibly and securely, without further hindering productivity.

"The reality is that people are working in cafes, on aeroplanes, in their GP’s waiting rooms and even while they take their children to the park.

"Organisations are tasked with a monumental challenge of providing secure access to corporate networks and data.

"Data protection is a huge concern for employers who are battling to manage security and privacy for employees on the move."

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