Friday, April 15, 2005

Home workers 'pose security risk'


Home workers 'pose security risk'

Working from home could pose a security threat to British businesses, costing an estimated £8.5bn a year, an IT security company has warned.

A study by Novell found 80% of Britons admit to not taking computer security precautions when working from home.

The research shows home workers are "ambivalent" to security issues, making them easy targets for hackers.

Novell says there will be an increase in security breaches if employees at home are left unchecked.

Easy target

Standard IT procedures are more likely to be ignored, and home workers are more prone to surfing the net and downloading virus-infected programmes, the company says.

The survey found British home workers to be more concerned with distractions from the television, "feeling lonely" and "missing the buzz of the office", than exposure to security breaches.

This, the company says, is making them an easy target for computer viruses and hackers.

The study also revealed three quarters of the British workforce want to work from home, while over half of British businesses have the resources to allow it.

Novell UK managing director Steve Brown said: "The benefits of having a more flexible workforce are clear, but the dangers are sometimes less obvious.

"As the numbers of home workers grow, so does the number of security risks to businesses.

Mr Brown said the only way to protect against the growing security threat was for businesses to take the responsibility off home workers.

"Successful and secure home and remote working is absolutely achievable," he added.

"If bosses feel comfortable that their employees aren't opening the door to IT security threats from their living room, workers will be one step closer to the benefits of flexible working."