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A fifth of employees store corporate files on memory sticks

55% of employees store work-related files such as emails, files and documents in locations other than a shared computer network, according to a new survey by enterprise content management company, TOWER Software.

Conducted by independent research organisation, Dynamic Markets, the report, ‘Document Mayhem in the UK and Republic of Ireland’ has revealed that 49% of PC users store these files in multiple locations, with a fifth (21%) using a memory stick.

14% of employees questioned admit to storing corporate material on the hard-drive of their laptop, and 9% even store work-related material on non-work owned personal devices.

8% use portable hard drives for work file storage, and 7% use mobile devices such as PDAs and smart phones for keeping hold of emails, files and documents.

Paul Brenchley, Vice President for TOWER Software in EMEA explains, “Worryingly, 1% are unsure which of these locations they’ve stored work-related files in! Overall, employees at middle manager level seem to be worse at storing computer files in such places (62%), compared to administration staff (43%). Despite the meteoric rise in mobile working and popularity of mobile devices, I’m surprised that these figures are so high. It seems that warnings about corporate security, compliance and information control simply aren’t registering with many employees. The use of memory sticks for example, will leave many organisations in breach of their security contracts that forbid them in corporate buildings - or any other location with a corporate IP address.”

“Fines and security threats such as those related to data protection and sensitive business and personal information continue to make regular news headlines. However, what also concerns me is the effect that poor information management practice can have day-to-day. Some consequences go beyond failing regulatory compliance, frustrating co-workers, losing customers and bad publicity. In some organisations, getting the right information to the right people at the right time is absolutely critical.”

For example, local authorities such as Tower Hamlets Borough Council use EDRM to manage electronic social care records (ESCR).

By having all relevant data available, prompt action and informed decisions can be taken to ensure the appropriate care of an individual or case.

The need to securely share information with colleagues and other government bodies such as, health, education, housing, criminal justice, private and voluntary establishments is essential.

Désiré Athow

Désiré has been musing and writing about technology during a career spanning four decades. He dabbled in website building and web hosting when DHTML and frames were en vogue and started writing about the impact of technology on society just before the start of the Y2K hysteria at the turn of the last millennium. Following an eight-year stint at where he discovered the joys of global tech-fests, Désiré now heads up TechRadar Pro. Previously he was a freelance technology journalist at Incisive Media, Breakthrough Publishing and Vnunet, and Business Magazine. He also launched and hosted the first Tech Radio Show on Radio Plus.