In May of 2021, HP Wolf published a cybersecurity study that centered on revealing risks that are driven by the surge in remote work. 82% of global office workers have worked from home more since the start of the pandemic, and that has been reported as having great economic and personal benefits, but it has also increased security threats for businesses. The study, “Blurred Lines & Blindspots,” had a lot of interesting insights. And we wanted to share the biggest takeaways we found.
You can also read the entire cybersecurity study here.
Cybersecurity Study: 71% of Employees Are Accessing More Company Data from Home
The HP Wolf report states that the coronavirus pandemic accelerated “what might have been a decade’s worth of sedate evolution towards a more remote and mobile workforce into a few months.” That means an exponentially high number of workers have been accessing more company data, more frequently, from home. The most common data being accessed included consumer and operational data – arguably some of the most important data your business has to share. And cyber attackers are taking note. Remote workers aren’t protected by corporate networks and firewalls in the same way they were pre-pandemic.
This has caused a shift in data perimeter from a focus on network security to a new emphasis on endpoint security. Globally, 91% of IT decision-makers are reporting they spend more of their time on endpoint security than they did in 2019.
The Work-Life Lines Are Being Blurred
Home networks are breeding grounds for cyberattacks, due to the less structured ways employees are using their work devices. Half of the office workers featured in this cybersecurity study say they see their work device as a personal device, with 46% admitting they use their work laptop for “life admin.”
Even more alarmingly, 30% of office workers admitted they have allowed someone other than themselves – a spouse, child, or friend – to use their work devices. And these instances were often not one-time occurrences: 20% of respondents say they let others use their work device more than once per day. Just as personal devices (tablets, smartphones) are used to conduct business more and more, the average work-from-home employee sees their work laptop as a shared work and personal device.
Employees’ Personal Tasks Are Increasing Security Risks
Among the many statistics, pie charts, and tables in the cybersecurity study, many described the blurring of the lines between work and personal. While IT decision-makers estimated about one-third of their employees were using work devices to complete personal tasks, in reality about 70% of office workers who copped to using their work device (or letting someone else use it) are guilty of doing this. And some of these tasks are highly risky, including:
- Opening personal email attachments or web pages – 55%
- Visiting personal social media sites – 45%
- Making video calls – 58%
While some of this can be attributed to the changing nature of school work and personal tasks (virtual schooling, businesses closing or restricting hours, etc), it is still a big hurdle for IT departments to overcome in terms of cybersecurity concerns and threats. And conversely, 69% of office workers are also using personal devices for work-related tasks like using home printers (a surprisingly large cybersecurity threat) to scan and share documents, save files using the VPN, access work applications and documents, and access main corporate networks.
The World of Cybersecurity is Evolving
Cybersecurity threats are evolving and expanding to take advantage of the widened gaps in your business networks as a result of the work-from-home surges. 51% of IT decision-makers report seeing evidence of compromised personal devices being used to access company and customer data in the past year.
These cybersecurity gaps need to be filled and we believe your data is only as secure as your weakest point. CyberFort Advisors want to help you find the right solution you’re your business, from compliance to SOC services that include threat and vulnerability assessment, log management, and intrusion detection solutions.
Contact us today to learn more.