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Home working on rise despite security fears

The number of "home workers" has doubled since 1998 thanks to the rise in the number of freelancers and new attitudes by employers to flexible and remote working.

According to the latest statistics from the Office for National Statistics (ONS), there are now 4.2 million "home workers" in the UK, double the number in 1998.

New data from PeoplePerHour shows that freelance working within the creative industries has seen the largest growth in recent years and it says there has been a 433% increase in freelance working in the UK since 2012.

And a new survey released this week by Imation reveals that 96% of businesses now permit remote and mobile working. The poll of 500 IT decision-makers in the UK and Germany conducted by Vanson Bourne found that 62% of firms believe that remote working has increased employee motivation due to greater flexibility; 61% say it has increased productivity.

The research shows that the most common methods of remote working are: home working (62%); Bring Your Own Device (51%) and Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (46%). In addition, 32% of those polled have employees that work from client sites.

However, data security is a concern with 54% worried about data loss through misplaced devices and 61% concerned about the threat of employees sharing confidential data.

However, 41% of those firms polled by Imation do not currently have a remote working policy that covers IT security - despite the fact that 67% of those polled said they believe their employees are breaking the organisation's security rules in order to work remotely.

"Businesses are unaware of the amount, and type, of data leaving the office, yet they are well aware that employees are regularly breaking the rules in order to take work home," said Nick Banks, a Vice President at Imation.
"It is important for companies to embrace mobile working, but managing the security of data on the move and ensuring there are policies in place to protect it, the employees, and the organisations who own it, should be a priority for anyone considering remote working."

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