Most employees would walk off with company data says survey

The research, which took in responses from more than 1000 employees of UK organisations, found that the most popular data is intellectual property (27%), followed by customer records (17%).

Moreover, says the survey's sponsor, data security specialist Imperva, about half of respondents claimed to have personal ownership of the data – 59% in the case that they were about to change jobs, and 53% if they knew they were about to be dismissed.

Sixty-six percent said that they would not deliberately take their employer's data upon hearing of rumours of their dismissal.

Also worthy of note is that 79% of those surveyed responded that either their organisation does not have – or is unaware of – any policy to remove collected data from employees' laptops upon departure.

So why would otherwise honest employees say they might take data with them when they leave their work?

35% said they would consider it helpful in their next role, with 17% saying they would take the data if they had knowledge of their employment being terminated.

The vast majority (85%), meanwhile, said they carried corporate data in their home computers or mobile devices. This data, says Imperva, mainly consists of customer records (75%) and intellectual property (27%).

Commenting on the results of the survey, Amichai Shulman, Imperva's chief technology officer, said that it refutes the conventional wisdom that insiders are corporate spies or revenge-seeking employees.

"It seems most employees have no deliberate intention to cause the company any damage. Rather, this survey indicates that most individuals leaving their jobs suddenly believe that they had rightful ownership to that data just by virtue of their corporate tenure", he said.

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