A quarter (25%) of UK workers allow their children to use their corporate device for home schooling and other purposes, according to a YouGov survey conducted by iomart.
The survey of more than 2000 UK employees highlighted that insecure practices among home workers are prevalent, which is leaving organizations vulnerable to cyber-attacks. The findings come amid ongoing social distancing restrictions in the UK, meaning a large proportion of workers are continuing to operate remotely.
As well as homeschooling, other reasons listed for allowing their children to access their work devices included homework and socializing with friends, including gaming. The authors noted that this kind of device sharing puts workers at higher risk of hacking and it is also harder for businesses to ensure key security elements such as managed network access, gateway firewalls and a secure cloud environment are used.
A further blurring between professional and personal use of devices was highlighted by the fact that a substantial majority of respondents (70%) admitted they can access social media on their work devices.
Poor password management was found to be another area of concern among workers. Almost three-quarters (74%) revealed they did not use different passwords for every account, with just a fifth (20%) stating that all their passwords are different, as is recommended.
Additionally, nearly half (48%) of UK workers said they are able to access their work emails on their non-work devices, potentially expanding the endpoints which can be targeted by cyber-criminals.
Neil Christie, chief operating officer at iomart, commented: “While it’s understandable that the lines have been blurred between personal and business use when it comes to work devices – due to home schooling, childcare and an increased need to stay social online – this has key security implications that need to be addressed.
“This change in behavior patterns, particularly in a busy home, makes the corporate environment more vulnerable to a security breach. Consultation and guidance around security matters should now take precedence as remote working is going to play a much bigger part in the life of every business.
“This includes addressing the highlighted risks that result from seemingly innocuous everyday behaviors in the home. As well as device sharing, these risks include using common passwords across multiple systems and lack of control over access to certain applications or social media.”