Bad Cyber Security Behavior At Home Risks Being Taken Back To Work

Millions of workers, employees and managers who have worked remotely because of Coronavirus are beginning to return to the office,  possibly bringing the very bad cyber security habits of home working back into the office with them, putting companies at greater risk of serious cyber security incidents. 
 
A new survey by the email security experts Tessian explains that after more than a year of remote working, offices are reopening and nearly every business is adopting a hybrid working structure. This is allowing employees to work from home and or from the office, and that this significant change in working conditions creates a fundamental shift in cyber security priorities.  
 
Tessian surveyed over 4,000 employees in the US and UK across various company sizes and industries, along with 200 IT professionals, to better understand back-to-work trends. Their report, which analysed ‘Back to Work: Security Behaviours’,  reveals that nearly a third of employees (30%) believe they can get away with riskier security behaviours when working remotely, with two in five (39%) admitting the cyber security behaviours they practice while working from home are different to the behaviours practiced in the office. 

As numerous organisations  plan for the “great return”, their decision makers need to ask some tough questions:

  • Will employees need a refresh on safe cyber security behaviors in the workplace? 
  • How will the threat landscape change? 
  • What role will the CISO play in the new hybrid workforce?

Tessian found some equally tough answers in their survey results: 

  • More than half (56%) of IT leaders believe employees have picked up bad cyber security behaviors since working remotely.
  • The majority (69%) of IT professionals predict a spike in ransomware attacks and targeted phishing scams in the transition back to the office.
  • Over a quarter of employees are scared to admit they’ve made mistakes that compromise security at work.
  • Six in every ten IT leaders said the return to business travel will pose greater cybersecurity challenges and risks for their company.

“The shift to an all-remote workforce was a huge challenge for IT leaders, but the next transition to a hybrid work model is set to be even more challenging - particularly when it comes to employees’ behaviors,” said Tim Sadler, co-founder and CEO of Tessian. The risks Tessian have identified could result a rise in phishing attacks whereby threat actors impersonate airlines, booking operators, hotels, or even senior executives supposedly on a business trip. There is also the risk that employees accidentally leave devices on public transport or expose company data in public places.

“Employees are the gatekeepers to data and systems but expecting them to be security experts and scaring them into compliance won’t work. IT leaders need to prioritise building a security culture that empowers people to work securely and productively, and understand how to encourage long-lasting behavioral change overtime, if they’re going to thrive in this new way of working.” Sadler said.  

TESSIAN    Forbes:      RealWire:      Security Informed:       Infosecurity Magazine:     Image: Unsplash
 
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