Microsoft Research Reveals Top Digital Security Concerns Amongst Employers and Remote Workers

New research commissioned by Microsoft Ireland reveals that just over one in four (26%) remote workers have experienced a cyber-attack personally, while 45% of employers have asked their employees to use their personal devices for work since the start of the pandemic.

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Conducted by Amárach Research, the study surveyed 500 employees and 200 business decision makers in September 2020 about remote working, digital security behaviours, and the concerns they now face.

This follows on from Microsoft research earlier this year which looked at cyber threats to public and private organisations. It also updates previous studies conducted by Microsoft in 2018 and 2019, but with an additional focus on the security impact of Covid-19 work-related practises now and in future. That research showed that nearly a quarter of organisations employing over 500 staff did not put any restrictions on employees access when working from home. However, in similar research in 2019, nearly half (49%) of those working from home at least once a week used their personal email account for saving, editing, sending, or sharing work-related documents – 24% reveal that they accidentally shared work-related material with friends and family.

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Retrofitting Cybersecurity
The accelerated transition to homeworking is placing pressure on organisations to support the unavoidable blending of personal and professional lives more than ever before. However, this naturally creates new risks, including the increased risk of cyber-attacks. This was reflected in the research which showed that only 17% of remote workers currently believe that the software and technology provided has done enough to protect their data.

This could be in some way due to the pace at which employers had to transition to remote working environments, with 36% of employers admitting they have spent the past few months putting in place the security, privacy, and workplace procedures required for today’s remote working world.

Remote Workers’ Information Protection Concerns
76% of workers were surprised with how well they had adapted to remote working. However, one in five employees feel their data is more vulnerable when working from home due to the absence of regular IT supports. In fact, one in five employees feel their data is more vulnerable when working from home in the absence of normal IT supports.

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