Study: Senior Managers Pose Greatest Risk to Cyber Security

A new study shows senior managers account for some of the greatest security risks because they are prone to take work, and thus security vulnerabilities, home with them.

While all levels of in-office employees tend to exude high-risk behaviors while working from home, senior managers admitted to doing it more readily.

The poll by security firm Stroz Friedberg of 764 U.S. information workers who use a computer regularly for their jobs shows risk behaviors ranging from uploading work files to personal emails to accidentally sending sensitive information to the wrong person.

"Insiders are by far the biggest risk to the security of a company's sensitive information, whether it's a careless executive or a disgruntled employee," Stroz Friedberg CEO Michael Patsalos-Fox said in a statement.

Eighty-seven percent of senior managers said they regularly upload work files to a personal email or cloud account, while 58% said that have mistakenly sent sensitive information and 51% have taken sensitive files with them after leaving a job – twice as many as lower-level workers.

What’s more, 53% of respondents gave Corporate America’s response to cyber threats a “grade C” or lower in the poll, with nearly three-quarters of respondents expressing concern that a hacker could breach their employers’ computer systems and steal personal data.

The study, which comes amid an onslaught of advanced persistent attacks against information-rich companies, underscores the need for upper management to enact strict, proactive policies that deter risky behavior while working from home.

"When information is compromised, a company's reputation, customer base, and share price may suffer," Patsalos-Fox said.

Stroz Friedberg says it's more important than ever with the proliferation of bring-your-own-devices in the workplace and sophistication of cyber thieves to educate employees at all levels about potential threats, from phishing schemes to weak passwords.