April 11, 2013
One in three British employees spends time on social media or prints private files on company printers instead of working; one in four searches for other employment from the work computer and 12 per cent take company files home. This is according to research carried out for Safetica, a provider of employee monitoring and data protection software, to ascertain whether British employees use their computers for non-work-related activities while they should be working, even when knowing it’s against company policy.
In answer to the question do you print personal files on company printers, 32 per cent said yes, with 24 per cent doing so while knowing this is against company policy. 32 per cent use social media during work hours – with 22 per cent knowing it’s against company policy, 23 per cent use their company computers to actively search for other jobs and 12 per cent take home or email company files without checking on their data integrity.
The positive conclusions which can be drawn from this research is that at least having a policy in place appears to reduce the (admitted) levels of undesirable activities by about one third, so even such a small step as explaining to the employees what they can and cannot do in the workplace already has a beneficial effect.
A more worrying aspect is, of course that a relatively large percentage (up to one in four employees) engage in undesirable activities in spite of being aware of policies that prohibit them, while where policies are not in place as many as one in three employees engage in inappropriate activities.
However, the numbers of people admitting to taking company files home (even if against policy) is alarmingly high. Approximately one in ten people, on average, admit to having no qualms about doing that. In a company with 1,000 employees, that means that up to 100 people are capable of walking away with sensitive company documents, which is a risk no company should take lightly.
Advises Urban Schrott, an IT Security & Cybercrime Analyst for Safetica: “Responsible companies would be wise to take steps to implement security policies, which would prevent excessive abuse of company resources by employees. As can be gathered from these statistics having a policy in place does make a difference.”
By Sara Bean