Temp staff pose biggest security risk

The weakest link in a company's security chain is the worker on a short term contract, according to security experts
Written by Will Sturgeon, Contributor

Companies that employ high numbers of temporary staff are increasing their exposure to serious security attacks.

Corporate compliance specialist PolicyMatter believes staff on short-term contracts represent the biggest danger to a company because they are often not made aware of security policies before being set loose on sensitive systems. This means they may unwittingly breach email or Internet use guidelines and expose their employer to virus attacks or other security breaches.

A spokesman for PolicyMatter said in a statement: "With the majority of firms deploying policy through an employee handbook, or ad hoc hard copies, it's a good bet that most temporary workers are never made aware of the company's policies on Internet and email use. Temps, who are often hired as a short-term emergency measure, are frequently let loose on sensitive applications with no prior instruction."

The solution, according to PolicyMatter, is to ensure that all temporary workers are made aware of their expected behaviour before they are allowed to access sensitive systems, such as email.

"This sounds burdensome but it needn't be," added the spokesman. "It is possible to inform employees of relevant policies as soon as they start up their PCs. Within 10 minutes they could have read and signed up to an email policy -- giving the employer peace of mind that their systems are being used properly."

For all security-related news, including updates on the latest viruses, hacking exploits and patches, check out ZDNet UK's Security News Section.

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