Employees don’t feel responsible for company data – survey

Despite British businesses facing fines of £500,000 for data breaches, nearly a quarter of employees do not feel responsible for their company’s data.

This according to Absolute Software’s 2013 Mobile Enterprise Risk Survey, which quizzed 755 British workers on their attitudes to mobile devices and data theft.

Almost a third (30%) of respondents said there would be no penalty for losing a company device, while 23% felt no responsibility over data security.

Yet when asked about employer penalties for losing individual data, 69% of respondents said businesses should be fined and face legal sanctions.

The proliferation of mobile devices and bring-your-own-device (BYOD) in the workplace is seeing company data exposed and compromised more frequently.

Despite this, a third of respondents (33%) described the security culture of their workplace as moderate or lax, and 37% knew of no formal procedure in place when a device is lost.

In terms of device ownership, the survey revealed that nearly one third (29%) of company employees have only one device for work and personal use, and often this device is owned by the business (23%).

>See also: You can’t ignore BYOD and hope it will go away

The research also looked into what employees think of the data that is stored on their corporate smart device. A third (33%) of respondents ranked protecting their personal contacts as a top priority, while four in 10 (41%) ranked work contacts as a top priority. These were both ahead of login details for corporate portals (23%) and work files (19%).

It seems despite recognition that sensitive data exists, a significant amount of employees surveyed are still losing devices. 55% understood there is private information on their device, yet 15% admitted to having lost a smartphone or tablet, rising to 25% in younger employees aged between 18 and 34.

On learning a device had been lost, 37% said they contacted IT, 28% contacted the service provider, while only 7% used a tracking service to locate the device.

“The desire for employees to work remotely and on the go has made valuable and confidential business data vulnerable,” said Stephen Midgley, VP of global marketing at Absolute Software.

“The speed with which BYOD has landed has meant corporate IT has barely been able to keep its head above water and the results of the 2013 Mobile Enterprise Risk Survey show that for most organisations it’s a struggle not only to educate employees on device security, but also to provide basic support to its staff.

“A business can be compromised financially and competitively through data breaches, and it’s vital that CIOs and IT departments develop a strategy to mitigate against mobile device theft and data loss.”

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Ben Rossi

Ben was Vitesse Media's editorial director, leading content creation and editorial strategy across all Vitesse products, including its market-leading B2B and consumer magazines, websites, research and...

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