Does the gig economy create new cyber security problems? / Digital Information World

Does the gig economy create new cyber security problems?  / Digital Information World

The gig model has become a popular choice for many companies due to the fact that this is the type of thing that can potentially end up getting the workers they need without having to pay for benefits like health insurance or paid days off. Instead, they can pay their workers exactly for the amount of work they do, and that has the potential to keep all parties happier than might otherwise have been the case.

With all that said and now out of the way, it’s important to note that the gig economy is not without its fair share of problems. One such problem is an increased cyber security risk. When a company hires a contractor, they must give them access to a certain amount of sensitive data. 87% of these contractors say they still have access to client accounts after completing their assigned tasks, according to Beyondidentity. This can cause some serious cyber security threats down the line if steps are not taken to mitigate this issue.

With 59 million Americans now working freelance, gigs now make up a full third of the American workforce. This is still a relatively new phenomenon, so all parties concerned are getting used to the ins and outs of this way of doing business. 71% of these contractors have access to financial accounts, 64% have access to communication channels and 63% have access to operating accounts to get the job done.

Other areas are also at risk. 47% of gig workers need to be able to open social media accounts, cloud accounts are necessary for 42% of workers, 32% access customer email accounts and so are the 22% who are responsible for project management.

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While 62% of gig workers said they are fully familiar with a client’s security protocols, as many as 34% said they are only somewhat familiar. 4% even said they are not familiar with their client’s security protocols at all.

This means that there are hundreds of thousands of gig workers in America alone directly causing disruptions to cyber security. That doesn’t even count the tens of millions who are only slightly known and therefore open up their clients to all kinds of cyber attacks and security problems.

Also, being aware of security restrictions and protocols is not the same as following them. 41% of contractors admitted that they only follow these protocols sometimes. 24% said they follow them often but not always, while 34% said they always stick to the protocols anyway.

A company getting hacked after hiring a contractor is pretty serious. 64% reported unauthorized purchases and a similar proportion said their money was stolen. Theft of user IDs and passwords also resulted in 60% of hacks, and 46% of hacked companies found their credit ratings damaged.

Any company looking to work with gig workers should take steps to mitigate the cyber security threats that can so often arise. Failure to do so could make the gig economy unsustainable in the long run.

Read next: 66% of Americans were hacked while playing video games according to this report

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