IT disaster recovery, cloud computing and information security news

VPN downtime encourages organizations to allow unsecure network use

A study by OneLogin has found that UK businesses who provide their employees with the benefit of remote working are struggling to find a balance between productivity and security. In fact, over half of remote workers spend up to one day per week connected to unsecured networks thereby leaving organizations open to greater risk of cyber attacks.

With three-quarters (74 percent) of those surveyed now offering remote access to fulfil employee demand, many companies have responded to this need by introducing VPNs to create a secure link between the home and corporate network. Indeed, almost half (48 percent) of businesses always require employees to use VPNs when working remotely, which should solve all the security issues associated with remote working and unsecured Wi-Fi networks.

However, organizations have inadvertently made productive remote working impossible with ‘not fit for purpose’ security protocols as 30 percent receive frequent complaints that the use of a VPN slows down network access when working out of the office. Such VPN hang-ups are directly counteracting the benefits remote working supposedly promotes, such as productivity and a happier workforce. They are also putting the future of remote working at stake, alongside the security of corporate data as employees’ side step company IT policies to connect to unsecured networks in order to do their job.

The findings are clear: VPN’s are notoriously prone to breaking down, with 67 percent of businesses experiencing up to a week of VPN downtime in the past year and 10 percent reporting that their VPN was down for more than a week. In short, a VPN doesn’t support productivity, it compromises it.

“With productivity levels compromised, companies such as HP, IBM and Yahoo have decided to turn their backs on remote working altogether. However, businesses shouldn’t jump too quickly to cast remote working aside. It is possible for businesses to enable and actively encourage remote working, without compromising security or productivity,” said Alvaro Hoyos, Chief Information Security Officer at OneLogin.

Hoyos adds, “With VPN’s proving so unreliable, people are more likely to turn to potentially unsecured networks which could prove to be catastrophic for a business’s cyber security. This could be devastating as data breaches could leave confidential documents in the wrong hands and can be incredibly costly to remediate. By using next-generation mobile container technology, organizations can extend endpoint security from desktops to mobile devices and thereby enjoy a unified endpoint management solution.”

Methodology and sample

605 interviews were conducted in the UK using an online methodology amongst a nationally representative sample of experienced non-managers and above who work in their company’s IT department who are decision makers for hardware, software and cloud-based services, who have some responsibility for IT security, whose company does creation and deletion of employee logins in-house, and either manages logins or is responsible for their creation. All respondents were aged 18 and over. Quotas were applied to gender, the age of respondent and the region in which they reside to ensure that the sample is nationally representative.

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