Business Technology

Businesses are unwittingly putting their own data at risk

3 min read

03 June 2013

Employees could be unwittingly exposing their company’s confidential data to the threat of cyber criminals, according to a recent survey.

To address this issue, the government has pledged to invest £7.5m to train the next generation of IT security experts. This comes as a part of the UK’s wider strategy to improve cyber defences for the public and private sectors.

The measure has been welcomed by Modis director, Roy Dungworth, who believes the corporate world needs to seriously wise-up and act on threats to sensitive information.

“Growth in networking options and devices like laptops and smart phones have made remote working increasingly common,” says Dungworth. “But the rise of flexible working and cloud computing through different devices that operate online has created a multitude of points at which cyber criminals can access a company’s data.”

The survey, carried out by Modis themselves, found that 51 per cent of the 1,200 UK workers they questioned never consider if they are compromising security when uploading or downloading. It also found that a quarter of workers don’t know of any policy to protect data when they use email, a company PC or smartphone.

Many businesses have no security strategies in place at all which can cause problems in the future. “Employers must be explicit about the policies which govern the way their employees use every piece of hardware and software,” says Dungworth. “The process of accessing data via a company phone, tablet or laptop could create a window for cyber criminals to infiltrate an employee’s confidential company network.”

This is clearly an issue that won’t go away and Modis has a specialist team who focus solely on providing businesses with IT security professionals. 2012 saw an 18 per cent increase in the need for specialists in the area but an 11 per cent drop in the number of candidates who could actually do the job. 

Over the past two decades, substantial change in technology has created new ways for businesses to share and exchange information. This, on the whole, has been positive and has created many opportunities. However, with that freedom comes a real risk and if companies have information they don’t want others to see, they must take a serious look at their IT security strategy.

Ruari Phillips is a recruitment entrepreneur and journalist based in Canary Wharf.