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Intermedia Report: 99% of Office Employees Put Workplace Data at Risk

Nearly all office workers admit to conducting at least one action that could lead to a potential data breach, according to a survey of 1,000 business professionals performed by cloud services provider (CSP) Intermedia.

Key findings from the Intermedia "2017 Data Vulnerability Report" included:

  • 99 percent of office workers have conducted at least one potentially dangerous action that could result in a data breach.
  • 96 percent automatically save work passwords on their work computer.
  • 57 percent store work files on their desktop or in desktop folders.
  • 42 percent use their personal password for business applications.
  • 34 percent store work data on personal file sync and share services.
  • 24 percent reuse the same login credentials for their work and personal accounts.
  • 23 percent automatically save their work credentials to their home computer.

Employees want to minimize cybersecurity risks, but organizations frequently struggle to provide workers with resources to help them correct risky data and file sharing behaviors, Intermedia Chief Technology Officer Jonathan Levine said in a prepared statement. However, organizations can deploy automated backup, two-factor authentication and other cybersecurity solutions to protect corporate data with minimal impact on an employee's daily workflow.

"The most effective security measures are often ones that employees don't even know are in place," Levine noted.

Most Employees Have 'Love-Hate' Relationship with Cybersecurity

Although employees often understand the importance of protecting corporate data, many workers have a "love-hate" relationship with cybersecurity, according to the "Dell End-User Security Survey” of 2,608 business professionals.

Sixty-five percent of business professionals said they feel it is their responsibility to protect confidential data, educate themselves on possible risks and behave in a way that protects their company, the survey indicated. Comparatively, 36 percent stated they feel "very confident" in their knowledge of how to protect corporate data.

In addition, 76 percent of business professionals said they believe their company prioritizes data security at the expense of employee productivity, the survey revealed.

How to Foster Cybersecurity Awareness Across an Organization

If an organization understands how to foster cybersecurity awareness across all departments, it may be better equipped than ever before to prevent risky employee data and file sharing behaviors.

Dell recently provided the following recommendations to help organizations drive cybersecurity awareness:

  • Create data security policies that define end-user access, types of data, who can have access to the data and rules for data dissemination outside of the organization.
  • Develop a data security strategy that supports close alignment between an organization's C-suite and IT teams.
  • Use data security solutions to safeguard confidential information that is stored on PCs and mobile devices, shared in the cloud, sent to a personal email account or transferred to an external device.

An organization's cybersecurity program should address awareness, enablement and protection, Dell stated. By doing so, an organization can help employees identify and address risky data and file sharing behaviors.

Dan Kobialka

Dan Kobialka is senior contributing editor, MSSP Alert and ChannelE2E. He covers IT security, IT service provider business strategies and partner programs. Dan holds a M.A. in Print and Multimedia Journalism from Emerson College and a B.A. in English from Bridgewater State University. In his free time, Dan enjoys jogging, traveling, playing sports, touring breweries and watching football.