How to stay safe while remote working this Data Privacy Day

As 2020 concluded, it was widely accepted that remote working was here to stay. In fact, 60% of the UK workforce have transferred to a remote model during the first lockdown, and the trend will likely continue long after the pandemic as workers come to expect more flexibility from their employers.

However, while this may prompt office workers around the world to celebrate the death of the morning commute, there is a darker side to remote working. According to the recent COVID-19 State of Remote Work Survey 2.0, OneLogin recently discovered that not only have employees felt pressure to return to their offices, but that 34% of those surveyed globally have experienced some kind of breach since they began remote working. This indicates that a large number of companies did not set up the appropriate infrastructure to facilitate the huge shift toward remote working that COVID-19 demanded.

The survey, which polled 1000 remote workers in the UK and 1000 in the US, also found that:

  • US companies reported breaches at a much greater rate than their UK counterparts, with 48% reporting so compared to just 17% of UK companies
  • Large organizations are significantly more likely to have been breached than small organizations: companies with over 250 employees reported breaches 26% more than companies with 1–9 employees

“All data breaches are deeply concerning for an organization, and for such high numbers to be reported in duality with remote working is certainly a worrying statistic for our remote work survey to have uncovered,” said Brad Brooks, CEO of OneLogin. “These findings indicate that a large portion of companies, particularly in the US, were woefully underprepared for the onset of remote working. It is crucial that all organizations – particularly those breached – undertake a thorough security audit in order to understand the reasons why these breaches occurred.”

How to stay secure

Another key step to keep your business safe from breaches is to ensure that your employees are following security best practices. To celebrate Data Privacy Day, we’ve provided some practical steps to do this. For example:

  • Don’t share your work computer with friends, housemates or family members: 26% of respondents admitted doing this
  • Don’t download personal applications onto a company device: 23% of respondents admitted doing this
  • Don’t work on a public wifi that is not protected: 22% of respondents admitted doing this
  • Don’t share your corporate password with others: 12% of respondents admitted doing this
  • Don’t leave your corporate devices unattended in a public space:10% of respondents admitted doing this
  • Do encourage your company to engage with multi-factor authentication (MFA), which gives you multiple layers of protection: Only 36% of respondents suggested that MFA had been implemented. 

To see the full results of this remote work survey, download the eBook.

About the survey

This survey was conducted with 2000 US and UK remote workers in December 2020. Conducted online, the survey was broken down by nationality, region, age, gender, job role, industry and seniority at a company.