Cisco survey finds hybrid workers consider cybersecurity protocol either complicated, painful or unimportant

A new survey from Cisco has highlighted the importance of making cybersecurity protocols simpler and integrated while safeguarding the corporate network from attack.

The survey also found that even though 53% of employees believe that securing their work devices are important and simple to do, there is still a significant portion of the workforce that must become comfortable with cybersecurity practices if hybrid working in South Africa (SA) is to be safe and effective.

Additionally, the survey uncovered that fewer than 29% of employees trust their companies to keep their data secure in a hybrid work environment.

Cybersecurity is also being put at risk by employees looking for ways around standard measures. The survey found that more than 33% of South Africa’s distributed workforce needs to find ways of circumventing the security measures of their organisations to remain productive. Additionally, one in four employees (24%) choose to use the same password for multiple accounts and applications, putting their business’ network and devices at risk. And just 18% say they use a secure password manager for their applications and online services.

Tightening cybersecurity measures

To protect valuable information, hybrid workers are putting certain cybersecurity measures in place, with VPNs, multifactor authentication, and regular software updates being three of the most used.

However a lack of awareness among hybrid workers about cybersecurity measures is a major factor.  So is the perception that following protocol literally wastes time.

With almost 7 out of 10 South African workers believing that their organisation takes cybersecurity seriously, there is a disconnect with what they believe their responsibilities are to help protect an organisation. With many finding the measures to be a time drain, further education is needed amongst workers; both hybrid and on-site.

The need for continual cybersecurity awareness and educational programmes to ward off data breaches has been emphasised in the report. For instance, less than 40% of SA workers are aware of single sign-on solutions in their organisation to access a range of platforms and apps without having to log in each time and almost 42% of people spend up to 10 minutes daily on dealing with security; less than 2% of their working hours.

Additionally, only 52% of employees know of any internal support resources for reporting incidents and phishing attempts.

Conrad Steyn, CTO at Cisco South Africa, said: “With hybrid work here to stay, employees are increasingly operating from uncontrolled environments, using public and private networks and multiple devices. When individuals don’t know how to protect themselves and their company network against an attack, an entire business could come under siege. In a new and complicated threat landscape, businesses need to focus on both educating employees to keep their communications safer and more secure and choosing integrated security technologies to maximise threat protection.”

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