Home working spreads among office workers

Some security hassles remain

Once seen as an eccentric privilege, remote working is now so established that as many as half of UK office workers were doing it this summer, according to a new survey.

The survey on behalf of authentication outfit GrIDsure was small - only 102 people took part - but still paints an image of a workforce undergoing rapid changes in work behaviour.

46 per cent of workers said they had planned remote and home working this August, four per cent of whom were doing so for the first time ever. More than half defined 'remote' as being 'from home', but six per cent said they had worked remotely while on holiday with an equal percentage doing so while on a train.

Despite 68 per cent describing home working as an important part of overall job satisfaction, 15 per cent with suitable jobs said they could work remotely but were prevented from doing so by their employer.

Most home workers relied on Internet access to make home working possible, but a quarter complained of broadband speeds, while 16 per cent worried about data security. Surprisingly, only nine per cent worried about technical problems around password or smart token access.

"All too often remote working is associated with concerns around security and difficulties in logging onto remote networks. Not only can this be frustrating for the end user, but it also puts unnecessary strain on the IT helpdesk," said GrIDsure's CEO, Stephen Howes.

Given the relatively modest prevalence of security as a worry, this is perhaps an exaggeration. Clearly, technology can be an issue that is perhaps stopping home working becoming even more common above the roughly half of users experiencing it.

"As employees choose remote working locations outside of their home security becomes even more crucial, yet it is worrying to see such a large proportion of users accessing their networks without any for form of authentication," said Howes.

GrIDsure's system is based on replacing passwords with a numbers entered using a pre-defined sequence of squares arranged in a grid. Every time the user logs in, they remember the sequence of squares but the number inside each square changes, essentially a clever way of implementing a one-time password.

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John E Dunn

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