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Security vigilance 'essential at work as well as home'

Businesses up and down the UK need to ensure their staff are taking seriously the important issue of workplace data security, as new research has shown a significant proportion of workers fail to take even basic security protocols seriously.

Overall, research published by multinational software company Citrix and reported by Infosecurity magazine has shown that there remains a considerable disconnect between the attitudes of some people to the security of their personal lives and their attitudes in work.

 

According to a poll of 2,000 UK adults in full-time employment, almost half of all respondents stated that they regularly add passwords to sensitive and important documents at home, but only 35 per cent carry this practice into their working lives.

Shredding not a priority

Meanwhile, 70 per cent of Brits stated that they will regularly shred and safely dispose of documents at home, but only 50 per cent continue to do this at work.

As a result, the poll has highlighted a number of disparities between attitudes towards security at home and security in the workplace, but in order to ensure businesses are being protected against potential breaches then these differences need to be addressed.

Cyber security expert at Citrix Dr Jessica Barker told Infosecurity: "A lot of people tend to assume that IT security at work is the responsibility of the IT or information security department alone.

"However, it's great that a lot of people are taking care of their data at home, and businesses can use this personal awareness to build a stronger organisational cyber security culture."

Indeed, many people are aware of what is best practice in terms of safeguarding their sensitive personal information, and in many respects, protecting sensitive work files and information is just as straightforward.

Company leaders should therefore aim to ensure that all their staff are aware of their responsibilities in terms of corporate data security, as well as providing basic training to clear up any areas of potential uncertainty that workers may have.

"It's important that this is led by example, with those at the top demonstrating their commitment to information security via good behaviors and financial investment," Dr Barker added.

Attitudes differ across generations

Furthermore, the Citrix study also showed that companies need to be aware of generational differences in attitudes to online security in the workplace, as it revealed that while 60 per cent of over-55s that responded to the poll stated they only ever use work devices with trustworthy company security software to access potentially sensitive corporate information, this figure dropped to less than half (47 per cent) among 25 to 34-year-olds.

Highlighting a more relaxed attitude to security among younger staff members, the report went on to add that business leaders need to instil a healthy sense of caution into all their workforce if they are to avoid potential issues arising in the future.

Indeed, Dr Barker concluded: "Having ambassadors for cyber security throughout the organisation, like health and safety representatives, can also help build and embed a healthy cyber security culture."

Cyber security together with the security of your workplace and personnel are equally important issues for any business. Investing in both secure IT and manned security for your office should be a priority.

 

Posted by Andrew Miller

 

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