Security becoming one of the top workplace worries

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As data breaches exposing sensitive company data become more common, new research from McAfee has revealed that being the cause of a data breach or cyber attack is one of the main work-related worries keeping employees up at night.

Of those surveyed, one in five (21%) of employees said they are worried that they will do something at work that will result in a data breach or click on a dodgy link that results in their corporate network being infected.

To make matters worse, these work-related anxieties are leading to a lack of confidence, loss of sleep and even illness as employees try their best to navigate today's increasingly complicated threat landscape. 

Over a quarter (25.8%) of respondents reported suffering from stress-related illnesses with 14.8 percent admitting to taking sick days to avoid going in to their workplace.

Growing worries

McAfee also discovered that as remote working has grown in popularity, respondents identified Wi-Fi hotspots (31.7%), cloud storage/apps (21.5%) and devices connected to mobile networks (21.4%) as the biggest security threats facing them.

Artificial intelligence, devices connected to home networks, smart home systems and connected cars filled out the rest of the list of greatest threats to one's data security.

Chief Scientist and Fellow at McAfee, Raj Samani explained that while the threat of data breaches can lead to anxiety and stress, cybersecurity must be a team effort engaged in by the whole organization, saying:

"It's easy to forget that cybercrime causes more than financial and reputational damage for targeted companies. It can also lead to anxiety and stress for employees. Our research suggests that a significant number of UK staff are worried they will do something that will result in a data security breach at work. While cybercriminals will try to access valuable company data through staff via phishing attacks or via other channels, IT can also ensure that the last defence does not fall to employees. Employees do need to play their part by exercising caution, such as avoiding clicking on suspicious links in emails, but cybersecurity is a team effort that should be spread across the company. By finding the right combination of people, process and technology, IT can effectively protect the business from attacks, detect threats as they appear and, if targeted, rapidly correct systems.”

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Anthony Spadafora

After working with the TechRadar Pro team for the last several years, Anthony is now the security and networking editor at Tom’s Guide where he covers everything from data breaches and ransomware gangs to the best way to cover your whole home or business with Wi-Fi. When not writing, you can find him tinkering with PCs and game consoles, managing cables and upgrading his smart home.