Data security time bomb warning

Data security time bomb warning

A new report has warned that UK businesses are at risk from a ticking ‘data security time bomb’ caused by employees ignoring corporate policy over their technology usage.

Researchers at Sony claim that 90% of employees in the UK have accessed company data from a personal device, regardless of corporate policy that advises against it.

The report also shows that one in four UK businesses has had a laptop lost or stolen in the last 12 months, with work laptops seemingly twice as likely to be stolen as personal ones.

The nationwide VAIO Digital Business report 2013 highlights a ticking data security time bomb created by bring your own device (BYOD) practices, poor security habits and a rebel workforce.

The research shows that whilst businesses need to evolve with rapidly changing working practices, there are security solutions available on laptops right now that aren’t being used.

Data security was ranked as very important by 75% of respondents, and loss of confidential company data was identified as the number one concern (by 48% of respondents) when it comes to lost and stolen laptops.

Worryingly however, 90% of people admitted accessing company data from a personal device, regardless of corporate policy, and two thirds (66%) of those surveyed admitted saving confidential business data on their laptops.

Further compounding this problem is that when it comes to laptops, the UK is still a nation of workaholics.

Findings revealed that as many as 66% of people take their work laptop home with them every day, with the train being the number one hotspot for laptop loss and theft, peoples’ homes in second place, and airports third.

In spite of this, businesses are not investing enough in securing their data, Sony says, with nearly half (49%) of businesses spending less than £1000 per year on laptop security and 72% of business laptops not having anti-theft security as standard, even though many security features require only simple activation.

“If you want staff to follow your BYOD policy, it’s clearly important to provide them with good quality, light weight machines, which feature good battery life and fast boot up,” says Ruth Storey, VAIO product marketing manager, at Sony UK.

“But it’s also crucial to educate them on how to use the mobile security measures available now. These simple steps would go a long, long way to defusing the potential time bomb that the UK’s 1 million missing laptops represent.”

The research was carried out in December 2012 by Research Now, with IT decision makers from more than 600 UK businesses.

Other key findings were that 42% of people are now using their own laptop for work and for 88% of business laptop users, it’s the machine they use in the office as well as remotely.

Also, 82% of people aren’t changing their password on a monthly basis, 20% of respondents never change it, and another 17% only do so when prompted to.

Meanwhile, 5% of those surveyed still use ‘password’ as their password and 7% of people have even asked a stranger to keep an eye on laptop whilst they went to bathroom.