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Orgs Grapple with Pros and Cons of Remote Workers

Despite the growing number of employees that work remotely, security professionals fear that remote workers pose risks to the enterprise, according to a new study published by OpenVPN.

An overwhelming majority (90%) of survey respondents said that remote workers are a security risk to the organization, according to the report Remote Work Is the Future – But Is Your Organization Ready for It? The report’s findings are based on a survey of 250 IT leaders, from the manager level through the C-suite.

Still, 92% of respondents agreed that the benefits of remote work outweigh the security risks. “For employees, it provides greater efficiency and lower stress levels: 82% of telecommuters reported less stress and 30% said it allowed them to accomplish more work in less time,” the report said. In addition, companies reportedly save an average of $11,000 per year per remote employee.

Despite the fact that 93% of organizations have a remote work security policy in place and 90% of organizations offer security training for remote workers, more than a third (36%) of companies have experienced a security incident due to a remote worker. That more than one in three organizations have suffered a security incident because of a remote worker is somewhat alarming when considering that nearly 70% of employees globally now work remotely at least once a week, the report said.

Of those who have suffered a security incident, 68% experienced it within the last year, yet the survey shows that nearly a quarter of organizations (24%) haven’t updated their remote work security policy in the same time frame.

While less than half (49%) of IT leaders said they only somewhat agreed that remote employees adhere to the organization’s remote work policies, the results vary depending on the role of the respondent. “Executives are particularly concerned about the risk remote workers pose, as nearly three-quarters (73 percent) of VP and C-suite IT leaders believe remote workers pose a greater risk than onsite employees, compared to 48 percent of IT managers and 45 percent of IT directors,” the study found.

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