"At end of day it's not their computer, it's a business tool, and people need to understand how much risk their activity poses for their employers, and that they need some level of separation in terms of their personal use," he said. "Companies may not want people going to the mall in the middle of the day when they could be doing work, but they might not want to allow them to use business tools to do things like e-commerce either."
IT workers participating in the study also highlighted the issue with 55 percent indicating their belief that their companies' remote workers are becoming less diligent toward security awareness, an 11 percent increase from the year before.
In addition to the growing number of threats being hosted on social-networking sites such as MySpace, Gray said that the personal data that people share about themselves and their employers on the sites poses a significant risk for the creation of targeted attacks.
If an attacker can go to a site like LinkedIn and get a firm grasp on someone's role in an organization and figure out who they might communicate with in the firm, it could be fairly easy for them to create an attack that easily tricks the individual into opening an infected e-mail, according to the expert.
However, it would appear that even suspicious e-mail arriving from unknown senders, long the favorite delivery channel for malware and links to phishing sites, continues to stand as a problem.
While the numbers of workers in the United States who are willing to open strange e-mails and attachments is far lower at 27 percent than in places like China (62 percent) and even the United Kingdom (48 percent), many people are still capable of falling for the time-honored ruse.
In one interesting twist on the issue of corporate device use, Cisco's report found that more people than ever are also using personal devices that are not under the control or management of their IT departments to access their companies' networks and electronic files. Some 49 percent of those people responding to the survey admitted using their own machines to do so, an increase from 46 percent one year ago.
Perhaps the only way to improve the situation will be for companies to enact stricter usage policies for their remote works regarding corporate-owned devices and embracing continued education for end-users about the nature and prevalence of threats, Cisco officials maintain.
"We need to continue to highlight the problems; companies are doing a much better job than they used to, but with all the blended threats, they need to reload and strengthen the human firewall, which is really the last line of defense," Gray said. "The companies that do the best job have ongoing continuing education for users that tells them that their computer is a business tool and who use monitoring tools to ensure that their security policies are being followed."