THE widespread adoption of flexible working policies in the Asia-Pacific has increased the risk of cyber-attacks on businesses in the region and this calls for a rethink of cyber-security policies and processes, according to global IT group Cisco.

A survey done by Cisco reveals that 89 per cent of respondents indicate their companies support telecommuting. Of these, over 90 per cent access their company's server and network from outside the office. But 17 per cent of those polled were unaware of security protocols implemented by their companies to safeguard data and business intelligence to support telecommuting.

The survey was conducted among nearly 300 participants at an information security conference in Singapore, RSA Conference Asia Pacific & Japan 2014, last month. The respondents comprised IT managers and mid- to top-level executives across a wide variety of global companies across the IT, financial and government industries,

The survey also had an ironic finding - 30 per cent of security experts polled admitted to allowing someone other than a colleague access to their work devices.

Sugiarto Koh, regional director of Cisco's security division in Asean, said that with the widespread adoption of flexible working arrangements, there is evidently a need for IT professionals to rethink their cyber-security policies and processes. "Today, the reality is that it is no longer a matter of if attackers get in, but when."

He added: "As security risks increasingly shift from the Bring-Your-Own-Device trend to flexible working policies, it has also become more critical than ever for companies to adopt a threat-centric approach to security that addresses the full attack continuum - before, during and after an attack."

Mr Koh said this approach to security "fundamentally avoids the problems associated with fragmented security solutions, such as lack of visibility and inconsistent enforcement".