COVID homeworkers behind spike in data breaches

The COVID-19 lockdown and consequent rise in homeworking has led to a sharp rise in data security breaches caused by human behaviour.

The latest report on data security incident trends by the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) shows a pronounced uptick in human-activated incidents as more people operate outside of the protection of office security. Misdirected emails, for example, have become a bigger security threat than phishing, revealed the ICO.

The ICO’s statistics show the top five sectors reporting the most security incidents are:

  • Healthcare
  • Education
  • Legal
  • Financial services
  • Local government

“Remote working during the COVID-19 lockdown has only amplified the issue of security,” commented Tony Pepper, CEO of email security provider Egress. “At Egress, we have seen an average 23% rise in email usage, as organisations rely even more heavily on it as a critical business communication tool. Alone, this increases the risk of someone sending an email to an incorrect recipient or attaching the wrong document – and we must add to this the disruption caused by working from home, whether that’s using mobile devices or laptops with smaller screens, or working later into the evening to accommodate daytime childcare or other commitments.”

Pepper said large-scale remote working and social distancing are forcing organisations to re-examine established processes, providing an opportunity for innovation that leads to improved security, efficiency and cost-effectiveness.

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