Christmas season stretches British corporate IT security

Newly published research claims that corporate IT security will be stretched to the limit this festive season, as an estimated 33 percent of staff rely on their office PCs for online Christmas shopping.

According to the study carried out for managed web security firm ScanSafe, the majority of workers – 60 percent – are not worried at all about the potential security risks and believe it is for their bosses to worry about.

The recent poll of over 1,500 U.K. office workers polled by market researcher firm during early December, found that many employees who are using the internet at work are still not fully aware of the security implications when online and may be putting their companies at risk.

The findings reveal that there are still individual fears about high-profile security risks, with nearly a quarter on average expressing concerns about the dangers of ID theft, viruses, spyware and phishing.

When asked about the various security measures that their company has in place, nearly 60 percent of respondents were confident their employers had web virus blocking software, and 40 percent confirmed that website filtering and spyware protection was used. Only 4 percent felt that their company did not have adequate security in place.

Over a fifth of those questioned admitted that they will spend anything from half a day to a whole day shopping online for special gifts. Over 55 percent of respondents claimed they did their Christmas shopping online during their lunch break or out of hours. A third admitted they do it "whenever they mood takes" them, while 14 percent confessed to doing it during official work hours.

Asked how many Christmas presents they plan to buy or have already bought, 42 percent of poll respondents said two to five gifts, while 22 percent admitted to buying six to 10. A surprising - and rather generous - 8 percent confessed to purchasing between 11 and 20 gifts.

For the two thirds of respondents who said they do not shop online for Christmas at work, half prefer to do it from home, while a third are not allowed to do it at work and nearly 20 percent do not have time.

ScanSafe CEO, Eldar Tuvey said: "There's an assumption from staff who use the web at work that the organization they work for is providing proper protection for them while online – and rightly so. Whatever our online habits in the workplace – festive or otherwise – the fact remains that businesses should be responsible for ensuring both staff and the business as a whole are protected from web threats."

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