Recent research conducted by Trend Micro Incorporated revealed a startling truth regarding the cybersecurity policies of businesses in the UK. The world-renown organisation has directed its expertise in cybersecurity solutions to uncover whether or not companies have room to grow in their current IT support services and precautionary measures.
While more UK employees are aware of their cybersecurity than ever, (72%, according to the study), the lockdown due to COVID-19 has not improved areas of weakness, nor has it prevented risky behaviors that leave businesses vulnerable to cybercrime. With a record amount of people going online, it is no surprise that cybercriminals have increased their capacity for damage. This reality makes the following revelations all the more concerning.
Dangerous Practices Remain All Too Common
While 85% of employees working from home report confidence in their IT departments, such an understanding may not translate into day-to-day operations, as many employees are still conducting risky behaviors that put businesses cybersecurity at risk. In startling contrast, 56% report using applications on corporate devices that were not approved by their IT departments. Among the group, 74% confessed to uploading confidential business data onto these types of unsecured applications.
The director of Sphere IT, a London based IT Support provider, noted that “even small acts can pose extreme consequences for the entire business, placing operations in jeopardy and compromising the company’s cybersecurity.” Even though 83% of surveyed employees believed that maintaining cybersecurity is part of their duty, it is unclear whether these beliefs are actually upheld in the workplace.
To make matters worse, only 36% of employees were utilising safety restrictions when browsing online, which, in conjunction with the 80% using their work laptop to do so, is a significant security risk. On the other end, 39% regularly break protocol by using their personal devices to view company data.
There May Be A Reason for This Behavior
Unfortunately, businesses may not be able to put a stop to these behaviors, no matter how many IT support consultants they bring in to educate employees. Further investigation into the study reveals a startling truth: workers do understand cybersecurity risks and may choose to simply ignore them.
34% of employees surveyed said that they do not care too deeply about which apps they use to get their jobs done, which makes it easier for them to accidentally use unapproved apps that pose significant risks. When asked whether or not they approved the applications provided by their company, 29% would rather break security policies than use those IT-sanctioned solutions.
Employers Need to Enact Solutions Quickly
With COVID-19 changing how businesses work worldwide, it is up to UK companies to not only fortify their IT support services, but also make sure their employees are on board with new changes. Without understanding on all sides, cybercriminals will continue to have free reign in stealing vital data and compromising cybersecurity.
To create a workforce that doesn’t just understand such threats, but also takes them seriously enough to change their behaviors, businesses will need to pay attention to their current education methods. Because risky practices are a result of attitude more than ignorance, these statistics show that employees should be treated as individuals rather than one large group.
To start, IT support consultantsshould create training programs targeted at separate groups, rather than treat workforces with a one-size-fits-all approach. These plans can effectively encourage workers to uphold cybersecurity by catering to their unique personalities and taking different attitudes or preferences into account.
As workforces continue to adapt due to the pandemic, businesses should maintain a close eye on the inner workings of their IT support services. Employees must be made to understand the importance of cybersecurity, which can only be done if businesses take direct, personalised measures when it comes to education.