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One in Three SMB Employees Use Personal Devices with No Security Controls for Work

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Avast research finds growing security challenges for SMBs around use of personal devices for work during pandemic

London, United Kingdom, November 17, 2021 — New research from Avast (LSE:AVST), a global leader in digital security and privacy, has found that employees in almost a third (31%) of Small and Medium Businesses (SMBs) in the UK are connecting to the corporate network using personal devices that do not have any security controls in place, according to IT Decision Makers (ITDMs) within SMBs.

Since the pandemic began, SMB leaders and ITDMs have had to quickly adapt to changing working behaviors. Whether teams are fully remote or hybrid, trying to ensure employees have the right technology in place hasn’t been straightforward. Of the ITDMs surveyed in this study, 66% stated they had not provided employees with their own dedicated work computers, whilst 19% encouraged employees working from home to use personal devices due to difficulties providing company hardware to them. A further 22% provided corporate software to employees to use in conjunction with personal devices due to these difficulties.

Since working from home was introduced at the start of the pandemic, only 23% of ITDMs said their company has specifically asked employees not to use personal devices for work activities. A further 15% of ITDMs have noticed unidentified or unauthorised devices on the corporate network that they believe are employees’ personal devices.

When SMB employees were asked directly about the personal devices they use for work, 27% stated they had connected a personal computer to a company network and 15% had connected a personal smartphone. Of those who did this, 8% didn’t get permission before connecting a personal computer and 13% didn’t get permission before connecting a personal smartphone.

“One of the biggest challenges with the move to remote and hybrid working has been ensuring employees have the freedom to do their jobs in a safe and productive manner,” commented Marc Botham, VP Worldwide Channel & Alliances at Avast. “IT teams have understandably done their best to make this happen, but as we begin to resume some form of normality, it’s crucial that the security of personal devices accessing the corporate network is treated with as much importance as the security of corporate devices. To help address this challenge we recently introduced a new Network Discovery tool, available for free to Avast Business Hub users, so that SMB leaders and IT teams can rest easy in the knowledge they have complete network visibility.”

Network Discovery is a fully integrated network discovery tool that aims to help SMBs, Managed Service Providers (MSPs) and Value-Added Resellers (VARs) gain full network visibility. As well as gaining better visibility into the IT network, Network Discovery provides users with the capability to keep track of unauthorised devices accessing the business network. This is something that is particularly critical in an age of hybrid working where employees may be spread across a variety of locations using both personal and work-approved devices.

The research was conducted in July 2021 by Dynata. It surveyed 500 IT Decision Makers in the UK and 500 in Germany, as well as 1000 SMB workers in the UK and 1000 in Germany.

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