Feeds

BSA slams blasé management of flexible working

Call out the home guard

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Protecting against web application threats using SSL

Flexible working in the UK is growing but the rollout of technology to enable home working is frequently mismanaged. This leaves firms more exposed to security and operational risks, according to a Business Software Alliance (BSA) sponsored study

A poll of 500 UK business managers by NOP on behalf of the BSA found that firms often fail to establish security policies applicable to an increasingly mobile or home-based workforce. The BSA study found that 55 per cent of businesses agree that remote working is making it increasingly tricky to see and manage what employees are uploading onto laptops and mobile devices, but 67 per cent confess to not being concerned. Almost four in ten (39 per cent) of bosses quizzed think mobile working is lessening their control over company software. Half (48 per cent) reckon that remote working makes security patching more of a problem.

The BSA's poll was released Tuesday to coincide with the publication of a UK government Workplace Employment Relations Survey 2004 which reports that home working has grown 12 per cent in the last six years. Employment Minister Gerry Sutcliffe said: "We have long argued that flexible working opportunities benefit everyone; employers, employees and their families, and [the] findings show that these arguments have been embraced in the modern workplace."

Mike Newton, UK spokesman for the BSA, agreed that working from home or on the move brought quality and life benefits for workers but argued that it exposed firms to greater risk. "People working from home make use of their laptops for personal use and they may download programs they are not supposed to. Office networkers are protected by network firewalls and virus checkers which are absent in the home. Only 40 per cent of firms we surveyed have extended asset management or virus controls to home workers," he said.

Controls stop at the office door

Analyst house IDC reckons 15.4 million Brits, or 50 per cent of the workforce will be working flexibly by the end of the year. Advances in IT, changing attitudes to work-life balance and pressure on public transport are driving the trend. The BSA argues that although companies are embracing remote working they often fail to put controls in place that would "best discourage licence abuse".

Newton conceded the BSA was yet to deal with a case where a firm got in trouble over software licensing issues purely because of what its mobile workforce got up to. "Normally you're dealing with broader illegality," he said. Nonetheless the BSA advises firms to revise their software asset management regime to bring mobile workers into the fold (using sites such the BSA's justasksam) as their company extends flexible working practices. ®

Related stories

European workers take to the streets
Tech firms climb on flexi-working bandwagon
Software piracy down, but piracy losses up

Reducing the cost and complexity of web vulnerability management

More from The Register

next story
Spies would need SUPER POWERS to tap undersea cables
Why mess with armoured 10kV cables when land-based, and legal, snoop tools are easier?
Infosec geniuses hack a Canon PRINTER and install DOOM
Internet of Stuff securo-cockups strike yet again
Apple Pay is a tidy payday for Apple with 0.15% cut, sources say
Cupertino slurps 15 cents from every $100 purchase
Israeli spies rebel over mass-snooping on innocent Palestinians
'Disciplinary treatment will be sharp and clear' vow spy-chiefs
YouTube, Amazon and Yahoo! caught in malvertising mess
Cisco says 'Kyle and Stan' attack is spreading through compromised ad networks
Hackers pop Brazil newspaper to root home routers
Step One: try default passwords. Step Two: Repeat Step One until success
Microsoft to patch ASP.NET mess even if you don't
We know what's good for you, because we made the mess says Redmond
NORKS ban Wi-Fi and satellite internet at embassies
Crackdown on tardy diplomatic sysadmins providing accidental unfiltered internet access
prev story

Whitepapers

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Security and trust: The backbone of doing business over the internet
Explores the current state of website security and the contributions Symantec is making to help organizations protect critical data and build trust with customers.