With the rapid increase in telecommuting due to COVID-19, cybersecurity strategies have become a greater issue for many companies. Just how prepared are organizations for the security implications of remote work? And is remote work really secure? Wrike wanted to know, so we conducted an online cybersecurity survey of 1,000+ workers employed full-time by organizations in the U.S.
A key finding was that 41% of remote workers are accessing confidential work information using unsecured personal applications. This means cybercriminals could have easy access to valuable data, trade secrets, and corporate intellectual property. About half of these employees who use personal apps for company information say they do it every day. That means confidential information is being regularly transmitted outside of a company’s security protocols, leaving companies open and at risk of malware and breaches.
Our survey results reveal even more about security practices adopted by companies and employees’ behaviors around those practices.
Employer security strategies
Many organizations didn’t have business continuity plans as the pandemic spread, and suddenly, they had to come up with remote work and security protocols — often without an idea of how to implement or even enforce them. With that in mind, we wanted to examine security from employees’ perspectives.
- Most companies released training and guidelines for remote work
In our survey, 74% of employees report that their companies released guidelines or training for working securely while remote. However, 19.3% say they’ve received no such guidelines, which means that a significant number of employees are either unaware of their company’s remote work protocols or work for companies that haven’t created them yet.
How employees react to security strategies
One of the most vital elements of a remote work security strategy is to ensure employees understand its importance, and for the most part, we found employees do believe their companies take it seriously.
- Most workers understand common cybersecurity risks
85% say they have a good understanding of cybersecurity risks and know the best practices to reduce them.
- Gen Z workers are the most likely to use personal apps for work
Overall, the younger the worker, the more likely they are to use personal apps to transmit confidential information. Gen Z workers are 53% more likely than baby boomers to do so.
Future-proofed security and the future of work
Experts believe remote work isn’t going away any time soon and might even be more common practice moving forward. That’s why it’s crucial for companies to understand why their employees are ignoring security protocols in order to future-proof remote security strategies.
- Functionality, convenience, and user experience of apps determine worker usage
Over 50% of employees say they use their own apps because their company doesn’t offer anything with similar functionality, personal apps are more convenient, or they prefer their personal app’s user experience. These factors are the top three reasons respondents are likely to bypass approved apps and use their own to collaborate with others instead.
Although workers say these are the main reasons for personal-app usage, it’s also likely that some don’t understand the security risks. External apps often request access to personal user data and malware can enter work networks with little or no record of a breach.
A secure work management solution
Overall, our survey shows that companies have been trying to be proactive about security, but there are still opportunities to improve communication around cybersecurity and to ensure workers understand the importance of preventing risks.
One of the best ways to future-proof remote work security is by adopting a remote work management platform. Wrike is dedicated to offering the most secure and reliable collaborative work management platform on the market. That’s why we offer the Wrike Lock add-on, which provides an additional layer of security by encrypting the encryption keys for Wrike workspace data (including tasks, folders, projects, workflows, and comments) and Wrike attachments with a master customer-managed key (CMK).
Download the full eBook for all of our findings.