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Risky Businesses: Majority Of Workers Take Cybersecurity Shortcuts, Despite Knowing Dangers

Published: Wed 28 Jul 2021 12:44 PM
Research from ThycoticCentrify, including Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, Malaysia, India and Japan, reveals workers’ attitudes to cybersecurity and risks they take on the job
Workers are engaging in risky behaviours which could put their company’s digital security at risk, despite knowing the dangers, a global survey of more than 8,000 employees has revealed, including over 2,500 respondents in Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, Malaysia, India and Japan.
ThycoticCentrify, a leading provider of cloud identity security solutions formed by the merger of privileged access management (PAM) leaders Thycotic and Centrify, commissioned the independent market research specialist Sapio Research to poll workers from around the world to discover if they are following good cybersecurity practices.
The results make for concerning reading – particularly when considered in the wider context of remote or hybrid working. The survey found that 79% of respondents have engaged in one least one risky activity over the past year (Australia/NZ 83%, Singapore/Malaysia 81%, India 90%, Japan 67%). This included:
- 35% who saved passwords in their browser in the last year
(Australia/NZ 43%, Singapore/Malaysia 36%, India 39%, Japan 28%)
- 32% who used one password to access multiple sites
(Australia/NZ 42%, Singapore/Malaysia 37%, India 33%, Japan 24%), and
- 23% who connected a personal device to the corporate network
(Australia/NZ 25%, Singapore/Malaysia 29%, India 36%, Japan 13%).
Despite almost all respondents (98%)* having an awareness that individual actions such as clicking on links from unknown sources or sharing credentials with colleagues is a risk, only 16% of respondents feel their organisation is at a very high risk of a cybersecurity attack (Australia/NZ 15%, Singapore/Malaysia 23%, India 22%, Japan 35%).
This feeling was contradicted by the 79% of respondents who saw an increase in the number of fraudulent and phishing messages in the last year (Australia/NZ 75%, Singapore/Malaysia 89%, India 94%, Japan 71%).
Joseph Carson, Chief Security Scientist and Advisory CISO at ThycoticCentrify, said: “People working in the cybersecurity sector know how their colleagues should behave when it comes to keeping their devices safe and protecting the wider company. But are these messages getting through?
“We’d urge employers to redouble efforts to encourage the best possible digital security practices in staff and remind them of the risks of failing to secure networks. A ransomware attack or major breach has major consequences which can last for years, so every organisation needs to establish security processes and work to ensure they resonate with employees.”
Just 44% of respondents received cybersecurity training in the past year (Australia/NZ 43%, Singapore/Malaysia 54%, India 64%, Japan 37%). This meant that more than half of the employees surveyed were left to cope alone with the fearsome threat landscape created by home working. Smaller organisations were the least likely to have given their staff cybersecurity training over the past year.
“Remote or hybrid working also poses a particular challenge to security, so organisations should be sure to embed good practices in their staff no matter where they are working from,” Carson continued.
Staff are more likely to rate the cyber risk to their organisation as high (55% compared to 43%) if they have been trained, indicating they have a better understanding of the risks.Additional Key Findings
SMBs at higher risk
- People working in SMBs are least likely to have received cybersecurity training in the past year.
- Just under half (47%) of those who work at companies with more than 5,000 employees underwent training in the last 12 months compared to 20% of employees at companies with less than 10 staff and 32% at organisations with between 11 to 50 employees.
- Those at smaller companies perceive their risk to be lower, with just 37% of employees at organisations with 1-10 employees saying there is a high risk, compared with 50% at organisations with more than 100 employees.
- Smaller companies were also least likely to have implemented protection such as multi factor authentication (MFA) or Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) compared to larger organisations.
Personal Responsibility for Security
- The survey revealed an overarching sense of responsibility among employees, with 86% agreeing that they have a personal responsibility to ensure they do not expose their organisation to cyberthreats (Australia/NZ 90%, Singapore/Malaysia 95%, India 89%, Japan 80%), and 51% saying they still think IT departments should have sole responsibility to protect companies (Australia/NZ 50%, Singapore/Malaysia 70%, India 69%, Japan 35%).
Download the full report: Cyber Security Team’s Guide: Balancing Risk, Security and Productivity
* 98% based on global respondents that responded ‘high risk’ or ‘very high risk’ to Q5
About ThycoticCentrify
ThycoticCentrify is a leading cloud identity security vendor, enabling digital transformation at scale. ThycoticCentrify’s industry-leading privileged access management (PAM) solutions reduce risk, complexity and cost while securing organisations’ data, devices and code across cloud, on-premises and hybrid environments. ThycoticCentrify is trusted by over 14,000 leading organisations around the globe including over half of the Fortune 100, and customers include the world’s largest financial institutions, intelligence agencies and critical infrastructure companies.

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