Encouraging flexible work arrangements may serve to boost productivity in companies, but bosses should be prepared to encounter the potential pitfalls accompanying such policies.

According to a survey conducted at the RSA Conference Asia Pacific and Japan in Singapore by Cisco, more than 90% of respondents confirmed they accessed their company’s server and network from outside the office, opening up their companies to security vulnerabilities.

However, one in five (17%) of executives surveyed were not aware of security protocols their companies may have put in place to safeguard data and business intelligence when they telecommute. This is despite 89.4% of the 283 IT managers and mid- to top-level executives polled indicating their companies supported telecommuting.

"With the widespread adoption of flexible working arrangements, there is evidently a need for IT professionals to rethink their cybersecurity  policies and processes," Sugiarto Koh, regional director, ASEAN (Security) at Cisco, said.

"While the majority of RSA attendees polled do have some form of securing the network to support secure flexi-work, the findings fundamentally highlight the potential security gaps for businesses who’ve yet to address the shift in this trend.

"These respondents are likely to be some of the most security savvy executives, so we would realistically expect them to the best behaved when it comes to security.”

Interestingly - and perhaps worryingly, the report also found security experts themselves are failing to protect their work devices.

Almost a third (30.4%) of the security experts polled admitted to allowing someone else other than a colleague access to their work devices.

"As security risks increasingly shift from the bring-your-own-device trend to flexible working policies, it has also become more critical than ever for companies to adopt a threat-centric approach to security that addresses the full attack continuum – before, during and after an attack," said Koh.

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