Frustrated home workers in danger of causing IT ‘security crisis’

Frustrated home workers in danger of causing IT 'security crisis'

Stringent security measures were an immediate concern in the move to home working, as gaining access to sensitive information and work-based discussions progressed remotely. However, new data from HP has found that younger workers are growing frustrated over accessibility.

In fact, the data found that over half of 18–24-year-olds are more worried about meeting deadlines than exposing their organization to a data breach, suggesting a growing level of apathy that may well result in fatal errors.

As a result of this rising tension between IT teams and younger workers, safety specialists have allegedly been forced to compromise over measures and relax levels of security to prevent younger ‘digital native’ workers from circumventing them.

Up to 76% of IT teams admitted that, as a result of tension with other teams, security took a backseat to business continuity during the pandemic, while 91% felt pressure to compromise security for business continuity.

Yet despite the danger of leaving sensitive information vulnerable to hacks from cyber attackers, 48% of workers surveyed stated that they saw security measures as a waste of time – a number that rises to 64% among 18 to 24-year-olds.

And whilst many workers may well be returning to offices with stronger security protocols, the future hybrid working approach does seem to be a cause for concern. 83% of IT teams believe the increase in home workers has created a “ticking time bomb” for a corporate network breach.

“The fact that workers are actively circumventing security should be a worry for any CISO – this is how breaches can be born,” said Ian Pratt, Global Head of Security for Personal Systems, HP.

“If security is too cumbersome and weighs people down, then people will find a way around it. Instead, security should fit as much as possible into existing working patterns and flows, with technology that is unobtrusive, secure-by-design and user-intuitive,” he said.

The report highlights that many security teams have made efforts to curb user behaviour to keep data safe. 91% have updated security policies to account for the rise in working from home, while 78% have restricted access to websites and applications.

But these controls often create friction for users; 80% of IT teams experienced push back from users who do not like controls being put on them at home. A further 67% added that they experience complaints about this on a weekly basis.

Pratt added that businesses need to educate workers on the need for security, and find a middle ground between perspectives. “To create a more collaborative security culture, we must engage and educate employees on the growing cybersecurity risks, while IT teams need to better understand how security impacts workflows and productivity,” he concluded.

HR Grapevine – Kieran Howells