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Businesses blind to the security risks of temporary staff

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More than 80 per cent of temporary staff have the same level of access to company documents as permanent staff but without the same accountability, according to research released today by security firm Websense.

The survey of more than 100 temporary staff found that 88 per cent of respondents were able to access documents from the company network drive, 62 per cent had used someone else's login details to access a work PC, 52 per cent had used a co-worker's email account, and 81 per cent had unlimited access to the internet from their work PC.

A worrying level of apathy among businesses toward basic data security processes is leaving them wide open to the risk of accidental or deliberate data breaches, according to Websense. Only 21 per cent of temporary workers had signed any type of PC or web use policy.

Among the other findings, 91 per cent were able to print any work document they liked, and 37 per cent were given access to passwords for company systems like invoicing, procurement, and payroll. Forty-two per cent were able to connect a personal device like an iPod, USB key, or PDA to their work PC.

Websense says businesses are also failing to manage the use of social networking sites, which it described as "a haven for cyber criminals". The survey found that 67 per cent of temporary workers used social networking sites like Facebook during working hours and 21 per cent accessed peer-to-peer file-sharing sites.

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