Most employees admit ‘risk taking’

Data security

Workers have been risking their company's reputation by being careless with their online behaviour, a report has claimed.

More than half of employees surveyed by Symantec admitted they were "risk-takers," whilst 54 per cent said they had taken company data from their workplace without their employer's permission.

This was despite the majority of respondents saying removing corporate information was the riskiest thing they could do other than misplacing a company laptop or mobile phone.

"We're all well aware of the dangers posed by workers determined to make mischief with company information WikiLeaks has reinforced that particular danger," said Jamie Cowper, principal product marketing manager at Symantec.

"However, the risk created by employees who walk away with a copy of a confidential database attached to their car keys because they wanted to work on it over the weekend must also be taken into consideration."

Workers were also found to be using unsafe means to transfer data from their company.

Almost half had uploaded files to staging sites, 36 per cent had emailed them to webmail accounts or third parties and 32 per cent had copied data to a USB stick, MP3 player or external hard drive.

"These findings point to the concept of a negligent insider those employees who have legitimate access to an IT system and who might cut corners to make life easy for themselves," said David S Wall, professor of criminology at Durham University, who was involved in the study.

"During the course of their work they will accept organisational goals, but only as far as they do not encumber them with much more additional work, or can be used to lighten their load."

Earlier this month, a Yorkshire Post investigation found NHS employees and workers at local councils had accessed private data on people they knew.

Many workers were found to have spied on personal data of Yorkshire residents.

Tom Brewster

Tom Brewster is currently an associate editor at Forbes and an award-winning journalist who covers cyber security, surveillance, and privacy. Starting his career at ITPro as a staff writer and working up to a senior staff writer role, Tom has been covering the tech industry for more than ten years and is considered one of the leading journalists in his specialism.

He is a proud alum of the University of Sheffield where he secured an undergraduate degree in English Literature before undertaking a certification from General Assembly in web development.