British businesses are losing £8.5 billion a year through the security threat posed by working from home.
A new study, commissioned by Novell, claims that whilst businesses are battening down the hatches to avoid IT security threats, home workers are "ambivalent" about security issues, making them one of the main points of entry for computer viruses and hackers to infiltrate and spread.
"The number of people working from home or from a remote office is growing all the time. The benefits of having a more flexible workforce are clear, but the dangers are sometimes less obvious," said Steve Brown, managing director at Novell. "The only way to protect against this growing type of security threat is to take the responsibility off home workers."
Four out of five Britons surveyed claimed they did not take any computer security precautions when working from home. Novell predicts this could result in an £8.5 billion loss for businesses over the year.
But some security experts have questioned whether the blame should be placed on home workers, or the businesses themselves. "Businesses shouldn't be losing this much money every year and then blaming it on home workers," said Steve Lesem, senior vice president at security vendor Safenet. "As with most security breaches, users are blamed as the weakest link. As working becomes more flexible British businesses need to ensure that their security policies recognise this and pre-empt any security problems."
In November SC reported mobile working is increasingly being used to increase productivity, as highlighted by a program in Rotherham.