Working from home increases cyber threat

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Date: 15 September 2020

A female employee is happy working from home supported by her employer

A new study has found that many employers are failing to give their staff adequate information on ways to avoid cyber-attacks while they are working from home.

Research conducted by insurance broker and risk adviser Marsh Commercial has found that over a third of UK employees could inadvertently be putting their employers at risk of a cyber-attack.

Its survey of 2,500 UK employees across ten industries found that 38% have received no information from their employers on cyber security risks. Those in the marketing (63%) and legal (50%) sectors were found to be particularly vulnerable.

Employees surveyed in finance and HR were the best informed about online safety practices, with around three-quarters saying that they had been provided with "sufficient" information from their employers. However, while most employees in IT were adequately informed, nearly one-third said that they had not received any cyber security-related communications at all.

Most employers also failed to conduct any kind of specific risk assessment when lockdown forced many people to work from home. The findings show that the percentage of firms (by sector) that failed to assess risk are: marketing (63%), legal (58%), administration (56%) and sales (55%).

Despite some of these figures, most UK employees are satisfied with their employers in terms of regular and constructive engagement while they are working from home. Four-fifths (81%) feel that they have been "supported enough" by their employer during lockdown, with 35% feeling "very supported". The education sector was highest in this category with 91% having saying they have been "supported enough", followed by those in HR (86%).

Fiona Barker, account director at Marsh Commercial, said: "Given the turbulence over the last few months and the new pressures on businesses to enable home working where possible, it is encouraging that the majority of UK employees feel supported by their employers.

"However, data security measures and supporting a healthy workforce warrant effective risk management solutions to help businesses stay better protected and avoid any costly mistakes down the line. Organisations need to keep their staff up-to-date on the latest cyber security best practice to mitigate the potential for damaging breaches."

Written by Rachel Miller.

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