4 in 5 remote workers tap company systems with unsafe devices

Work from home
Photo by Goran Ivos

Work-from-home habits,  including password re-use and letting family members use corporate devices, are putting critical business systems and sensitive data at risk, according to a new survey from CyberArk.

The survey, which aimed to gauge the current state of security in today’s expanded remote work environment, found that 77% of remote employees are using unmanaged, insecure “BYOD” devices to access corporate systems.

Also, 66% of employees have adopted communication and collaboration tools like Zoom and Microsoft Teams, which have recently reported security vulnerabilities.

The study found that the risks to corporate security become even higher when it comes to working parents. As this group had to quickly and simultaneously transform into full-time teachers, caregivers and playmates, it’s no surprise good cybersecurity practices aren’t always top of mind when it comes to working from home. 

Among those surveyed, 93% have reused passwords across applications and devices; 29% admitted that they allow other members of their household to use their corporate devices for activities like schoolwork, gaming and shopping; and 37% insecurely save passwords in browsers on their corporate devices

While 94% of IT Teams are confident in their ability to secure the new remote workforce, 40% have not increased their security protocols despite the significant change in the way employees connect to corporate systems and the addition of new productivity applications.

The rush to onboard new applications and services that enable remote work combined with insecure connections and dangerous security practices of employees has significantly widened the attack surface and security strategies need to be updated to match this new dynamic threat landscape.

This is especially true when it comes to securing privileged credentials of remote workers, which if compromised could open the door to an organisations most critical systems and resources.

“The security posture of organisations continues to be tested as many remote employees face daunting challenges balancing productivity and security across their professional and personal workspaces,” said Marianne Budnik, CMO of CyberArk.

“As more organisations extend work-from-home policies for the long term, it’s important to capture lessons learned from the initial phases of remote work and shape future cybersecurity strategies that don’t require employees to make tradeoffs that could put their company at risk,” said Budnik.