Digital Transformation

Workers failing to secure sensitive data

Many employees are putting sensitive data at risk without knowing it, according to a new study.

Many workers are inadvertently leaving their company vulnerable to a data breach, a new study has revealed.

According to research by Modis, 50 per cent of employees fail to consider whether customer security is being put at risk when they are uploading or downloading data to a company laptop or PC. Similarly, 51 per cent are ignoring security issues when they are moving data to or from a smartphone.

Companies are increasingly relying on options such as offsite backup storage to safeguard information and ensure it is accessible in the event of a disaster.

However, the findings suggest many could do more to make sure their staff are fully versed in data protection issues and aware of the company policy on protecting and handling sensitive information.

Roy Dungworth, Modis’ managing director, commented: "With cyber security such a high-profile issue, employers are now aware of the risks, but few realise that their own employees are their greatest vulnerability."

Businesses have been urged to be "explicit about the policies which govern the way their employees use every piece of software at their disposal".

Mr Dungworth said any such policy should cover every device and means of data storage, from company intranets and email accounts to tablets and laptops.

He insisted that every time a new device is introduced to a business to help personnel to work remotely, "robust" policies regarding its use should be put in place. These, he said, should then be communicated to members of staff in order to facilitate their smooth introduction.

According to figures from Modis, 27 per cent of employees do not know their company policy on using email. Similarly, 25 per cent are unaware of the rules regarding the use of a company PC, while 40 per cent have not heard the rules on using phones.

This comes after a survey by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills revealed 87 per cent of small companies and 93 per cent of larger firms have suffered an information security breach during the last year.