HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) spent over £90 million on remote working technologies in the last three fiscal years, raising cybersecurity worries due to the proliferation of new devices for government workers working from home.

According to information released by think tank Parliament Street under the Freedom of Information Act (FOI), HMRC spent £90,566,908 on 187,427 gadgets, including laptops, mobile phones, tablet computers, and desktop PCs.

HMRC acquired 22,400 computers through a lease-buy program and 67,362 laptops outright during the course of the three-year period. Laptops alone cost a total of £64,919,643 in total.

Giving workers the option to work from home can benefit them personally as much as the economy. But since the number of devices used for work has drastically increased, worries about potential assaults are also starting to surface.

RiverSafe CEO Suid Adeyanju said, “As one of the UK’s largest employers, it’s encouraging to see HMRC equipping staff members with critical remote working technologies.

“However, as an organization tasked with managing the personal details of millions of individuals and businesses, it’s vital that all staff are trained in the latest cyber awareness programmes and have the right technology to protect data in the event of device loss or theft.

Remote working will continue to drive economic growth, but it also increases the risk of a data breach or ransomware attack, thus all government departments should prioritize upskilling and reskilling existing personnel.

Cybercriminals can access new devices

“Remote working plays a crucial role in allowing employees to operate efficiently, but the reality is that every new device purchase is a potential access point for cybercriminals,” said Absolute Software vice president Andy Ward.

“Organizations managing large amounts of highly confidential data should have systems to track, block, and wipe all information in the event of loss or theft.

“In addition, being able to securely access corporate data across all mobile devices regardless of network is essential to staying productive while maintaining the highest security standards.

“Taking a zero trust approach to making sure the right information is being accessed, by the right people, at the right time across all devices and networks will help keep hackers and insider threats at bay.”

Sridhar Iyengar, managing director of Europe at Zoho, shared another take on expenditures.

Iyengar says giving workers devices is only the first step to efficiency: Forward-thinking companies will continue to invest in remote working technology like laptops and tablets, but this is the first step towards empowering employees with the gear they need to succeed. This must be paired with a long-term plan to provide staff with the latest software, enabling project collaboration and professional development.

“Only a holistic approach to remote work and employee empowerment will enable organizations to fully leverage digital technologies and unlock their true potential.”

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