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Businesses Divided Over Who Poses Biggest Threat

Network access control needed to secure all desktop, mobile, and guest network users

BOSTON -- IT security and control firm Sophos has revealed new research into the types of users that businesses fear are 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* results were as follows:

Which users expose your company to the greatest threat?

  • Contractors/outsourced labor - 14%
  • Remote and mobile employees - 31%
  • Guests - 11%
  • Standard employees - 44%

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.

"Remote workers and guests can be a real headache for IT administrators trying to safeguard corporate networks, particularly when they're using different devices, different security software, and different operating systems or system patches," said Graham Cluley, senior technology consultant at Sophos. "These users don't have malicious intentions, but if they're allowed to log-on, they can inadvertently expose the network to a myriad of security threats. Without a solution for standardizing who and what is allowed network access, these companies are greatly increasing the risk of leaving avenues open for cybercriminals to exploit."

Sophos plc

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