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Enterprises sitting on security time bomb as UK office workers compromise company data

Posted on 31 May, 2013 in Press releases

Almost half of office workers store work documents on consumer cloud services, while 91 per cent store, access, and share via personal devices

Companies are at serious risk of data security breaches as 43 per cent of UK office workers admit to storing enterprise documents on personal cloud tools and services. The nationwide survey of 2,000 office workers carried out for Huddle by Ipsos MORI revealed that more than a fifth (22 per cent) of people use Dropbox to store enterprise documents, while Apple iCloud and Google Drive came in second and third place with 14 per cent and 13 per cent respectively. With 91 per cent of workers also stating that they use personal devices to store, share, access or work on work documents, companies are at risk of losing data and intellectual property forever as it becomes fragmented across multiple devices and cloud services.

Content is being fragmented across cloud and personal devices

According to the research, 60 per cent of workers use external hard drives to store company documents and almost half (46 per cent) use USB drives. A third of people admit to using USBs to share work documentation with others and 43 per cent use external hard drives for the same purpose. Even CDs and DVDS continue to be used by 13 per cent of people for storing enterprise documentation.

With a wealth of digital content being created and shared on a daily basis, the ways in which companies ensure their data is stored, accessed and worked on by employees – without compromising security – is becoming a significant issue. To deal with the information overload now occurring in organisations, it is clear that many office workers are turning to personal gadgets and services to help them get their jobs done more effectively. More than half of UK office workers (52 per cent) stated that they want to access all of their work documents in one place and a larger percentage (56 per cent) want to be able to work effectively from anywhere. Today’s enterprise technology now needs to be able to support these requirements without putting company information at risk.

“Companies need to wake up and realise they’re facing a massive security issue and risk having their intellectual property walk out of the door with people,” states Alastair Mitchell, CEO, Huddle. “There’s a huge amount of information available in enterprise content stores and knowledge workers are struggling to find ways to access, work on and share this with everyone they need to. Failed by legacy technologies, such as SharePoint, which were designed to keep content locked inside an organisation, employees are looking for easy ways to access what they need. 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. With people busily stashing data all over the place, companies simply have no idea where their content is kept. Information needs to be stored centrally so that everyone with permission can access it, regardless of whether an employee has left the company.”

Frustration mounts as content overload hits hard

Huddle’s inaugural “State of the Enterprise Information Landscape” report reveals that office workers nationwide feel overwhelmed by the amount of content – whether documents, discussions on social tools, images or video – that they work with on a daily basis. More than half of UK office workers (57 percent) feel bombarded by all the information they have to sometimes deal with, with those aged between 46 -52 years old feeling the pressure most (60 per cent).

According to the research, technology adds to people’s frustrations in the office as key annoyances are:

  • Not being able to send large files via email (42 per cent)
  • Wasting time searching for electronic documents (41 per cent)
  • Ensuring that people are using the most up to date version of any given document (28 per cent)
  • Getting documents approved by others (26 per cent)
  • Figuring out who has the specific information about a project or task (19 per cent)

In order to share and work on documents with people outside of their company, almost three quarters (70 per cent) of office workers continue to revert to sending email attachments, 16 per cent send hard copies of documents via courier and eight percent send CDs or DVDs via mail.

Men are worst offenders for driving fragmentation

The study reveals that male office workers are more likely to be stashing company documents on their personal cloud services or devices:

  • Nearly half of men (49%) personally use cloud tools or services to store work documents versus 39 per cent of women
  • Men are also more likely to keep enterprise documents on USB drives (51 per cent), external hard drives (63 per cent) and CDs or DVDs (16 per cent), in contrast to women’s respective 43 per cent, 58 per cent and 10 per cent

The boom in cloud based file share and sync tells us there is a real business need for collaboration, but it has brought as many issues with it as it has resolved,” explains Alan Pelz-Sharpe, Content and Collaboration, Research Director, 451 Research. “Workers have a very real set of needs to be met, and it’s IT’s challenge to provide easy to use but enterprise secure alternatives to insecure consumer alternatives. Services such as Huddle aim to manage and balance the needs of workers and IT, so people can get their jobs done without compromising security.”