Most Executives Worry about Security Risks Accompanying Remote Workers, Survey Finds

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  • IT executives fear that people working from home bring new and unknown risks
  • Some companies can’t keep pace with the rhythm of changes in cybersecurity
  • The current remote workforce scenario is likely to remain in place for the next 18 months

Enterprises shifted to a work-from-home model very quickly. While it seems like an ideal scenario, 73 percent of security and IT executives now have serious concerns about the possible vulnerabilities and risks introduced by the new workforce organization scheme, according to a new survey.

It’s no secret that many companies discovered that having people working remotely is not such a bad idea. Even if the pandemic made this choice for the companies, organizations realized that people tend to work just as well from their living rooms, if not more. They could even save some money by cutting expenses related to office space.

The reverse side of that coin has the potential to counterbalance any savings a company could make by having people in remote locations. The new risks and numerous vulnerabilities introduced by the interaction of work-from-home people with the corporate network are difficult to quantify. That’s the main reason why 73 percent of security and IT executives worry about this very issue.

Of course, other problems popped up after companies moved their workforce remotely. Not all issues are cybersecurity-related. For example, it turns out that companies have a difficult time keeping pace with changes.

“32% had difficulties validating if network and security configurations undermined security posture,” found the survey. “55% admitted that it was at least moderately difficult for them to validate network and security configurations did not increase risk.”

Some of the policies that existed during life at the office, such as BYOD, have been put on a backburner by security teams to allow them to focus more on supporting the remote workforce, but it turns out that it might not have been the best solution.

“Security teams deprioritized BYOD policies at a time when mobile vulnerabilities have increased by 50% with more personal devices connecting to corporate assets,”, the survey also found. “While understandable at the time, it is crucial that security practitioners now assess decisions that were made during that time of crisis, understand potential risk.”

The one thing that all companies seem to agree on is that the current situation is likely going to last for the foreseeable future, with 70 percent of respondents projecting that at least one-third of their employees will remain remote 18 months from now.

The Skybox survey covered 295 global executives representing organizations with at least 5000 employees.