'Nearly a fifth of office workers in Ireland have access to company data of a previous employer'

  • Photo: Dan Hegarty, Head of Sales, HCS

    HCS, a leading IT, cybersecurity, and digital transformation services company, is today (28 June) announcing the results of new research which found that nearly a fifth of office workers in Ireland still have access to the company data of a previous employer.

    Of these, 48 per cent use that previous employer’s data to help them in their current job.

    The research of 503 office workers based in Ireland was carried out by Censuswide on behalf of HCS, with the support of Fortinet, a global leader driving the evolution of cybersecurity and the convergence of networking and security. The aim of the survey was to explore office workers’ attitudes to, and experiences of, cybersecurity at work. The full results and analysis of the survey are available as part of a new report by HCS called ‘HCS CyberWatch Report: Insights into 2024’s Cyber Threats’.

    READ MORE: Employment Law Partner Linda Hynes: 'AI will become a discussion in every facet of the workplace'

    The study also highlighted the risk that current employees can pose to data security within organisations, if effective access controls are not in place. Of those surveyed, 43 per cent say that in the job they have now, they have access to privileged or sensitive company data that they shouldn’t, and 52 per cent of these admit that they access it. It is perhaps not surprising, then, that 61 per cent of office workers don’t trust their employer to protect their own personal data.

    Meanwhile, 15 per cent of office workers say that their organisation’s cybersecurity measures prevent them from doing their job effectively. Some of those surveyed are finding ways around this, with 22 per cent of office workers admitting to having bypassed internet access controls implemented by their organisation by using tools such as a web proxy to access blocked sites.

    Pictured: Dan Hegarty, Head of Sales, HCS

    When it comes to working arrangements, it appears that there is still a way to go in making employees feel secure and supported outside of the office. Almost a fifth of those who work remotely or on a hybrid basis feel more vulnerable to security risks when working from home, while 27 per cent feel they have less technical support. Some 48 per cent of remote or hybrid workers access their company network via a secure VPN, while the same percentage use home Wi-Fi.

    READ MORE: Performance Breakthrough create new app they believe will enhance employee wellbeing in NI's thriving tech industry

    Dan Hegarty, Head of Sales, HCS, said: “These findings highlight the urgent need for organisations to proactively manage access permissions and implement robust access policies. In doing so, businesses can mitigate the risk of unauthorised data exposure and protect their valuable assets against potential breaches. In addition, providing ongoing awareness training can empower employees to play an active role in protecting company data. Not only will this bolster the security of sensitive customer and company information; it will uphold trust with employees regarding the safeguarding of their own personal data.

    “It’s concerning to see that employees are finding ways to circumnavigate organisational security measures. Organisations need to ensure that the cybersecurity infrastructure in place is robust, while also setting out clear protocols for employees. Meanwhile, it’s crucial that employees feel supported when working outside of the office. A well-defined remote or hybrid work strategy should have cybersecurity at its core to enable employees to work securely and efficiently, with speedy remediation in the event of an issue to minimise downtime.”

    Subscribe to Sync NI Newsletter for the latest technology news, jobs and upcoming events in N.I.

    Read the magazine online for free here.

Share this story