Skip to main content

Working from home could be a major security risk for your employer

(Image credit: Image Credit: Gpointstudio / Shutterstock)

Employees working remotely could be risking their security by visiting insecure sites and services using business devices.

A report from Netskope has found that the use of risky apps and websites, including adult content, from managed devices has nearly doubled. Using anonymised data from millions of global users, the company found a 161% increase in visits to high-risk apps and websites, as personal use of managed devices increased by 97%.

Netskope Threat Labs detected a 600% increase in the amount of traffic to websites hosting adult content from managed devices. 7% of all users had also uploaded sensitive corporate data to personal instances of cloud apps — putting this data at risk of theft.

Cloud-based attacks saw a significant rise as remote working grew, with 63% of malware found by Netskope delivered over cloud applications such as OneDrive for Business, Sharepoint and Google Drive.

Overall, the report found there had been a 148% rise in remote workers due to the COVID-19 pandemic, with nearly two-thirds (64%) of employees now working from home.

This has led to a huge rise in the use of services to keep in touch remotely, with Netkskope seeing an 80% increase in the use of collaboration apps, as well as the total number of cloud apps being used in the average enterprise increasing, with over 7,000 being deployed in some of the largest enterprises.

“The abrupt shift to remote work in 2020 sent a shockwave through organisations, as people found work and personal lives blended unlike ever before,” said Ray Canzanese, threat research director at Netskope. 

“While many companies rose to the challenge to embrace cloud-based collaboration tools, we also found increased risk as employees used work devices for personal reasons. Organisations must tackle this problem head-on by prioritising threat protection and ensuring safe cloud and web access through methods like strong authentication and access controls, data and threat protection, as well as zero-trust network access to private apps in data centres and public cloud services. Enacting measures like this will reduce exposure of apps, cloud-enabled threats, unintentional data movement, and limit network lateral movement.”

  • Stay secure with the best VPN service 2020

Mike Moore is Deputy Editor at TechRadar Pro, and has worked as a B2B and B2C tech journalist for nearly a decade, including at one of the UK's leading national newspapers and ITProPortal.