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Survey Shows Slapdash Staff Risk Corporate Data

A survey of more than 100 UK office workers has revealed that employees are hugely reliant on access to network data to do their jobs, yet show an alarming apathy about the value of that data.

The survey was carried out by secure online backup specialist, Databarracks, and the findings are a stark warning to UK businesses:

Data dependent: Workers are so dependent on corporate data that 84% felt they couldn’t do their job for more than half a day if they lost access to it, whilst 43% felt they could not cope for any period without access

Recreational risk: More than half (57%) have at some point lost an office work laptop/BlackBerry/USB stick, with the most common loss location being a pub, bar or restaurant

Personal priorities: More than three-quarters (77%) admitted storing personal content such as photos on their office network or PC, putting obvious strain on company resources as well as increasing the risk of malware infection. Meanwhile, the same number (77%) would prioritise their personal mobile phone over their work PC if both were on fire, clearly valuing personal over corporate data

Loss liabilities: Companies are massively exposed to human error. Nearly two-thirds (63%) of respondents have accidentally deleted data on the networks, whilst 69% admitted to saving more than 10 important work files on their PCs alone, causing major potential disruption if they were stolen or damaged

Neglecting nature: Many employees are neglecting their ‘carbon footprint’, with 24% stating they never switch off their PC at close of business and 23% only sometimes. More than half (55%) of respondents also feel their company should plan better for environmental incidents, such as the floods that took place earlier this year

Peter Groucutt, MD of Databarracks, commented: "This research paints a frightening picture for UK organisations. Almost every business, irrelevant of sector, is reliant on the information stored on its IT network to manage day-to-day operations. This dependence makes it critical for organisations and their employees to protect their network information, yet our survey shows carelessness and even negligence among many respondents, who have a haphazard view of how corporate data should be handled.

“Whilst employees can be educated to treat corporate data more carefully, human error will always be a factor, so this is not a problem that is going to disappear overnight. In addition, organisations have a myriad of different applications to protect, and data retention and archiving regulations to comply with. More organisations have to start seriously considering secure online backup to protect themselves from unforeseen events.”

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.