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Three quarters of UK workforce takes security risks when ‘on the beach’

Scores of UK workers are taking significant security risks whilst on holiday by connecting to the Internet using work devices on Wi-Fi networks that are often unsecured.

Beach to Breach research carried out by Cisco’s Sourcefire arm reports that a huge 77 per cent of UK workers take work devices with them on vacation and that 60 per cent don’t check the security of Wi-Fi networks before using them.

This is despite the fact that 69 per cent confirmed that their employer warned them of the risks that come with using work devices remotely and the worst offenders are trainees, 75 per cent of them not bothering to check the security of a network.

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“While employees generally do not set out to deliberately pose an IT security risk to their employer, our study shows that the majority of workers are likely to be more concerned about getting online than strictly following the IT security policy. As such, security systems have to be designed to take on board the evolving work life patterns of the modern workforce,” stated Sean Newman, field product manager at Cisco.

72 per cent of workers spend at least one to two hours every day keeping up with what is going on in the office and upwards of 80 per cent of directors, mid-managers and senior level employees took a work device away with them. Junior employees also reflected this as 50 per cent were unwilling to leave a work device at home.

Reading and sending emails were the most common activities at 97 per cent and 85 per cent respectively, and 30 per cent reported working on tasks associated with managing people, corporate documents [27 per cent] and spreadsheet [17 per cent] also close to the top of the list.

“Businesses must realize that it’s not a matter of if they get attacked, but when, and need to focus on setting their security accordingly. Employees equally have their part to play by avoiding unsecured Wi-Fi networks, especially for work-related tasks, and ensuring that they adhere to their company’s IT policies at all times,” Newman added.

Cisco’s figures come just a day after a separate survey reported that UK workers are increasingly completing work tasks in leisure time and this further compounds the work-home security headache.

Image Credit: Flickr (Giorgio Montersino)