Corporate networks are at risk from holiday makers

European research suggests that a quarter of consumers are putting their employer’s networks at risk of viruses, malware and worms. The research shows that holiday makers are irresponsibly plugging gadgets such as digital cameras, smartphones, mp3 players and USB sticks into home, work, public and foreign PCs, without taking the necessary antiviral measures.

The survey found that almost 75 per cent of holidaymakers travel with gadgets to maintain consistent access to email, Facebook and Twitter.

Digital cameras are the most popular gadgets taken across borders (62 per cent), followed by laptops (58 per cent) and smartphones/iPhones (38 per cent and 33 per cent respectively). Over a quarter of the respondents planning a trip abroad in 2011 admitted they would connect their devices to any available PC. And more than half confessed to inserting the same gadgets into their work PCs.

Connecting gadgets to the corporate network obviously poses a major risk for companies, as people return from their holidays with potentially unwanted souvenirs in their software, causing the IT department the ultimate holiday hangover.

A previous survey concluded that 74 per cent of staff bring their own equipment with them to work, be it mp3 players, smartphones or USBs. With these statistics in mind, companies could face increased costs in fighting malware as employees return from their holidays abroad.

With employees admitting such irresponsible behaviours, companies must be prepared for an influx in malware attacks during and following the summer holiday period. Consumers too should be aware of the potential consequences of failing to protect their devices.

IT departments need the ability to manage and secure all user devices across multiple platforms. If an organisation’s current infrastructure does not automatically discover these devices as they attach to corporate data, to control an environment where both personal and secure corporate-owned data are inter-mingled-and if it’s not based upon tiered functionality and role-based administration-then maybe it’s time to re-evaluate.

Nigel Seddon is the Sales Director for Region North at LANDesk Software. Appointed in October 2010, Nigel’s role at LANDesk focuses on growing LANDesk’s business by developing routes to market, direct sales engagement and managing the sales team for LANDesk’ software portfolio. Prior to his role at LANDesk, Nigel was Managing Director for the UK at Trend Micro. Nigel has over 17 years’ experience in the IT industry and prior to TrendMicro, he held sales, marketing and business development responsibilities at Sun Microsystems, Carland, Orange and Comet.