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Risks At Home

by msecadm4921

British businesses need more education about the risks associated with staff accessing the corporate network from home, it is claimed.

British businesses need more education about the risks associated with staff accessing the corporate network from home and have a low awareness of appropriate information security procedures for remote workers in general, according to a survey of 400 UK businesses released today by SonicWALL (www.sonicwall.com), the provider of internet security solutions.
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The survey confirms home working as a growing trend.ÿ Overall 83 per cent of companies interviewed said they have staff who work from home on either a regular or occasional basis. Home working is now prevalent in 98 per cent of large companies (œ20m or more turnover) compared with 91 per cent of small-to-medium size enterprises (SMEs) (œ5-20m turnover) and 79 per cent of the smaller businesses (œ1-5m turnover) interviewed.
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Overall 43 per cent of companies reported having staff who were able to access the company computers from home. Again the trend is more pronounced among larger companies, 63 per cent of whom allow staff home access to the company computers compared to 49 per cent of SMEs and 39 per cent of small businesses. In assessing attitudes to accessing company networks from home, the survey found that more than half the respondents (51 per cent) think working from home will become more common. Nearly three quarters (73 per cent) believe computer security for home workers to be very important and more than half (52 per cent) said they were concerned about security issues.ÿ Among those that do not yet allow staff to access to the company computers, cost (44 per cent) and security concerns (31 per cent) were among the main reasons.ÿ Concerns about security issues when working from home were more common among smaller companies (34 per cent) than larger ones who were less likely to have strict policies about security.
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There was widespread agreement (84 per cent) that responsibility for computer security for home workers lies with the company. Almost three quarters (74 per cent) said they always review who is authorised to access the company computers from home and just over a third (35 per cent) always check who else has access to the home worker PC. However, as many as 50 per cent never perform this check and a quarter don?t even check the home worker?s equipment before granting access.
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When asked about security measures between the home PC and the company computer networks, only two per cent said they had no security measures at all, but the significant majority said they relied on either virus checkers (85 per cent) or firewalls (71 per cent) for protection. Other security measures were used less frequently. For example, less than half (44 per cent) made sure the home PC employed content filtering while just one third said they used Virtual Private Networking (VPN). Among those whose staff already access the company computer network from home, one fifth said that computer security specific for home workers was not something they had thought about. A similar number (17 per cent), the majority of which were from small businesses, said they would not know where to get advice about improving security for home workers.

What they say
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Harry Gostling, UK country manager for SonicWALL, said: ?These results clearly show that there is much to do in helping businesses understand the Internet security risks and the range of security solutions available today. The fact that two thirds of British businesses are not encrypting their data via VPN technology should cause widespread concern.ÿÿWe must work together to promote secure remote connectivity solutions for all businesses with remote workers.?

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