Who poses the biggest network threat?

Sophos revealed new research into the types of users businesses fear most likely to expose their networks to IT threats. The research shows that 31 percent of companies believe remote or mobile users expose their networks to the greatest threat, compared to 25 percent that consider guests or external contractors the greater danger. In contrast, an additional 44 percent of companies believe standard employees are actually more likely to expose the network.

The survey question was – which users expose your company to the greatest threat?

14% – Contractors/outsourced labour
31% – Remote and mobile employees
11% – Guests
44% – Standard employees

According to Sophos, many businesses struggle to ensure that their mobile workforce adhere to the same security policies as their desktop users. This is because they have insufficient insight into whether these remote machines are equipped with the required software, system patches and up-to-date security applications. Furthermore, Sophos experts note that guests and contractors are often overlooked from this equation and allowed to forgo these security checks entirely, greatly increasing the chances of exposing the company network to attack.

The research also highlights the large proportion of organisations that hold concerns over their desktop-based employees – workers that are likely to be using similar devices and permanently connected to the network. Whether down to irresponsible online behaviour, utilising peer-to-peer applications or instant messaging programs, or simply because their PC isn’t correctly configured, any employee that doesn’t adhere to internal security policy could be exposing the network to threats.

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