Many employees careless about sensitive data outside workplace

This data includes highly sensitive information such as customer credit card numbers, customer Social Security numbers, patient medical information, and internal corporate financial information.

Also, a majority of companies do not have policies in place to protect sensitive information from computer screen snooping when employees are working in public places, according to the Visual Data Breach Risk Assessment Study conducted by People Security for 3M.

A full 70% of working professionals surveyed said their company had no explicit policy on working in public places, 79% reported no company policy on the use of privacy filters to prevent visual data breaches, and 55% reported working on their laptop in a high-traffic public area at least one hour per week.

“With the rise in mobile workers carrying confidential data with them outside the office, snooping is no longer a harmless hobby and may represent a weak link in corporate data security practices”, said Hugh Thompson, chief security strategist of People Security.

The study included a survey of 800 working professionals and an experiment held at an IT conference of 1000 participants where attendee computer usage habits and data security choices were observed.

During the conference, 26% of attendees who used an internet kiosk accessed corporate email on an unprotected network in a high-traffic public area, though many had the opportunity to use a more secure corporate laptop or smart phone. Furthermore, attendees who used the internet kiosks had the choice of using a computer either equipped or not equipped with a privacy filter. A clear majority (65%) of kiosk users chose the one without a privacy filter, according to the survey.

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