Ticking time bomb caused by 'always-on' work ethic

Staff get paid to do their job, and they do that as efficiently as they can. Security is something often seen as a hindrance to efficiency; so it is frequently ignored. A new survey by Huddle shows the extent to which security is often bypassed for simplicity in the name of personal efficiency.

Ipsos MORI interviewed 2000 US office workers in the first week of April. The results, published in Huddle’s inaugural State of the Enterprise Information Landscape report depict what the company describes as a security time bomb as office workers compromise company data. The problem is a combination of insecure but easy-to-use new personal technology, combined with slow and difficult – albeit more secure – legacy corporate technology.

With legacy sharing technology complicated, many workers (65%) revert to using email to share and work on documents with people outside of the company (although 31% are frustrated by their inability to send large documents as attachments). Email is efficient for the individual, but inefficient and insecure for the company. It creates a potential for multiple drafts of a single document, and loss of control of the content. At the same time, staff are being overwhelmed by the sheer volume of data in the modern company and have difficulty in finding the information they need and knowing whether what they find is the latest version.

To solve these problems, many workers are turning to alternative methods to store and distribute the data they need via personal devices. Sixty-four percent of office workers use external hard drives while 46% use USB drives and 16% use CDs and DVDs to store company documents. Personal file-sharing and synchronization services are also increasingly being adopted to both store and distribute files. Sixteen percent of workers use Dropbox, 15% use Google Drive, and 12% use Apple’s iCloud – and 91% use their personal devices to store, share, access or work on company documentation.

The result is that companies are losing control over their data at a time when intellectual property theft is dramatically increasing. Legacy technologies were designed to keep data locked inside the organization; but business and workers are moving to an any time, anywhere method of work. Frustrated by the difficulty in finding what they need, when they need it, “employees are looking for easy ways to access what they need,” warns Alastair Mitchell, Huddle’s CEO. “This has resulted in a free-for-all use of personal cloud services, external hard drives, smartphones and USBs, turning the enterprise content store into a giant, unruly jigsaw puzzle.”

The result, says Huddle, is a security timebomb. "Companies need to wake up and realize they're facing a massive security issue and risk having their intellectual property walk out of the door with people," warns Mitchell.

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