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61% of hybrid and remote workers feel primarily responsible for maintaining their digital security, according to a new report from Unisys, but only 21% are aware of sophisticated online threats.
The office-based norm of the pre-pandemic world is unlikely to return: more than four in five employers (83%) now say the switch to remote work has been successful for their business, and more than half of employees (55%) would prefer to be away at least one to three times a week once concerns about the pandemic have subsided.
However, Internet security concerns have increased in all countries. Despite high levels of general concern, the report found that a lack of awareness of basic cybersecurity risks and threats pushes hybrid and remote employees to unknowingly engage in risky behaviors, putting their employers at risk.
The survey identified a widespread lack of awareness among consumers on how to avoid and tackle online threats. Two in five people (39%) say they don’t hesitate to click on suspicious links, although phishing attacks account for over 80% of reported security incidents. Only 21% are aware of more sophisticated scams like SIM jacking, where a scammer has a user’s phone number transferred to a phone they control.
Additionally, two in five (39%) don’t hesitate to click on links in text messages, emails or social media. Less than half (44%) are aware of something called SMiShing, which is where a scammer texts to ask for personal or financial information, and only a quarter (24%) know which organization or department in their business to report scams to.
Almost half (45%) in the United States, Australia and New Zealand have downloaded or installed software not approved by their IT department, usually because those other applications are the ones they use in their personal lives ( 42%) or because they are perceived as better than those provided by their company (42%).
Employees are also concerned about digital security, but also about digital privacy. Most people – four in five (79%) – are willing to be monitored by their employer in some way if it means being allowed to work from home, but the information they are willing to share vary considerably.
Employees are the most comfortable sharing data that reflects what is shared in physical offices in person – on and off times (40%). Closer monitoring of work activities that invade the privacy or are often seen as ‘looking over the shoulder’ of workers is less welcome, with only 18% of them saying they would be at work. comfortable with monitoring their screen, and only 12% said they would be comfortable with microphone monitoring.
The common theme connecting these dots is the importance of a positive digital experience for employees. When employees feel like they don’t have the right tools to do their jobs, or aren’t aware of security risks, they bypass their own IT departments and download third-party apps or software, which means that they are unknowingly putting themselves and the business at risk for malware or viruses.
Read the full Unisys report.
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