Workaholics will check office emails on Christmas Day

A OnePoll survey of 1000 workers in full-time employment, commissioned by authentication specialist SecurEnvoy, shows that only one in three working Brits (34%) will definitely not be checking their business emails over Christmas. At the same time, 28% said they would be angry if work called them on their personal phone; while 18% admitted that it would make them really annoyed.

Economic uncertainty perhaps explains why one in five workers would feel competitively disadvantaged if they don't keep up with their business email. And the particularly high levels of unemployment among the young probably explains why it is this youngest age group (18-24) that is most likely to feel the pressure.

All of this should make employers very happy. It is effectively unpaid labour, with nearly half of employed Brits checking their office mail over the holiday period. But it should also make them very worried. The same survey shows that a similar number of these workers have no security whatsoever, not even a PIN-code access key, on the smartphones that will often be used to check their mail. Sensitive company information could easily find its way onto the same mobile devices that will be lost or left in taxis after a Christmas party.

Domestic burglaries also increase in the darker winter months – up by 63%. The danger here is the tendency to keep passwords and access tokens by the home computer; which means that today’s computer-savvy criminal doesn’t need to steal the computer, he can just take the access details and gain access to the data-rich corporate computers later.

Andy Kemshall, CTO and and co-founder of SecurEnvoy, warns that accessing the corporate network to retrieve emails, using a password or hardware token that’s left next to the PC just isn’t good enough. “Should Santa, his elves or someone a little more sinister drop by and liberate you of your token or copy your password, they could be stealing vast amounts of critical company data.” It is better, he suggests, to first secure your mobile phone and then use the phone “as your authentication token as this is more likely to be kept with you and still needs a separate pin or password entering.” This is the way, he adds, to “have a very merry, relaxed but secure, Christmas.”

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