The transition to remote working brought about by the ongoing pandemic has blurred the boundaries between private and professional lives in more ways than one.
According to a report from security firm Kaspersky, over half (51%) of remote workers that concede to watching more “inappropriate content” since lockdown measures were introduced admit to doing so on the same device they use to work from home.
Meanwhile, nearly a fifth (18%) confirmed they have accessed such content on devices provided to them by their employer.
Although the report does not offer an explicit definition of the types of content it classifies as “inappropriate”, the implication is clear.
Remote working threats
While “inappropriate content” in itself does not necessarily pose a threat to cybersecurity, Kaspersky believes the overlap between personal and professional activities could amplify risks associated with shadow IT, including the disclosure of sensitive information.
For example, 42% of respondents admitted using personal email accounts for work-related matters, jeopardising the security of business data. Almost four in ten (38%) also use personal messaging services that have not been vetted by IT teams – with 60% of them doing so more often under the new regime.
According to Kaspersky, workers are also consuming a far greater quantity of news than before the pandemic. While this might appear an innocuous activity, 60% is performed on devices used for work, which could lead to malware infections if employees are not careful about the resources they access.
“Organizations cannot just fulfill all user requests, such as allowing staff to use any services as they want to. It is necessary to find a balance between user convenience, business necessity and security,” said Andrey Evdokimov, Chief Information Security Officer at Kaspersky.
“To achieve this, a company should provide access to services based on the principle of only supplying minimal, necessary privileges and use secure and approved corporate systems. These types of software may have certain restrictions that slightly reduce usability, but offer greater assurances in providing security measures,” he added.
Meanwhile, users looking to preserve their privacy while accessing personal (or inappropriate) content are advised to use devices that are unconnected with their profession and opt for a leading VPN service.