Holidays are meant to be a time to disconnect, unravel and indulge in the pleasures life has to offer – you’ve earned it after all that hard work right?
Well for many UK workers, it appears this is not the case. New research by OneLogin, a cloud based identity and access management provider, has found that over a third of the UK workforce access work apps whilst on holiday and a quarter of us look at work apps before anything else in the mornings. Undoubtedly a surprise to people who advocate a healthy work-life balance, the findings indicate employees are effectively never leaving the office, as almost half (46%) of respondents having one to two work apps on their mobile device and almost a quarter (23%) admitting to have more than three – which they all check daily outside of work.
Studies in the past have proven that overworked employees who can’t disconnect from their work reduces productivity and encourages apathy towards work – in this instance, it could also lead to major slip-ups of the security variety.
Namely that this opens up a vast point of attack – every device used by employees, whether private or work-related, could become the weak link in the chain. A lost work phone or laptop on holiday being found by the wrong person could give them access to a whole world of confidential data. Sharing of information through unsecured devices can be intercepted. The use of a compromised network, when a device hasn’t got effective safeguards in place around the sensitive data it carries, can allow hackers to steal said data. Briton’s work obsession is now putting corporate data at risk.
Although three-quarters have security software set up on their work devices (potentially due to organisation’s security policies), employees are making a habit of bypassing simple security procedures. One-in-ten would readily give colleagues access to their work device (11 per cent) and a further one-in-ten (9 per cent) would grant their partners access. 35 per cent would actually share their passwords for work-related technology (devices, apps and emails) with close friends and family. By default these additional people are then granted access to the corporate network.
“Whether we like it or not, the UK is becoming a nation of workaholics, quite literally carrying work around in our pockets, on public transport with us, on holiday, and even to the bathroom”, comments Per Stritich, VP of EMEA at OneLogin. “Remote and desk-less employees are of course largely beneficial to organisations in terms of productivity and scaling down on costs. However, the correct measures need to be put in place to ensure remote workforces are accessing data securely and that it’s not placed in the hands of others. For example, single sign-on technologies and IAM solutions will ensure only the employee can access work data, no matter who else gets their hands on the device.”
All this remote working that technology has made possible has been hugely beneficial in opening up businesses and helping them operate globally. However with so much more now to secure than in past, it’s evident employers have to come to terms with this new facet of business life. We have the solutions and the skills necessary to use remote working safely, but for some reason many enterprises simply haven’t made it happen.
So Britons, leave the phone at home or make sure it’s secured! Some companies have policies in place and the world’s security experts have a million and one suggestions for how best to ensure you don’t expose corporate networks to compromise through employee devices. What’s most important is the security is fit-for purpose and can keep up with how your business is structured now, as well as in the years to come.