Study: Employees engage in risky computing

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Common employee behavior may result in data loss or leakage of a company's intellectual property, according to a study from Cisco.

The study, called “The Challenge of Data Leakage for Businesses and Employees Around the World,” examined 2,000 employees and IT professionals from 10 countries — the United States, United Kingdom, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, China, India, Australia, and Brazil.


The research discovered that despite the security policies, procedures, and tools currently in place, employees around the world are engaging in risky behaviors that put corporate and personal data at risk,” the report states.


The behaviors include using unauthorized applications on business networks, altering security settings and sharing work devices and sensitive information with non-employees.


The study said that employees alter security settings to perform non-work related tasks such as paying bills online, downloading music, looking at pornography or gambling online, which can pose, “serious threats to corporate security and profitability.”


Mobile employees pose a threat, too. More than 75 percent of employees said they do not use a privacy guard when working remotely in a public place, the report states.


The study also suggests ways companies can prevent data leakage. Recommendations include knowing and managing data well, institutionalizing standard codes for secure conduct, fostering a culture of openness and trust and establishing security awareness education.


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