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6 Ways Employees Are Putting Your Company’s Data at Risk

The Accidental Hacker

Chances are very high that your employees don’t mean to put your company at risk, and the majority of the problems listed in this article by Rich Hein are clearly a case of error rather than malicious intent. But intent isn’t necessarily important when it comes to the intellectual property and IT security of your organization. Regardless of whether it’s a matter of intent or not, the explosion of mobile devices and proliferation of the internet being used for non-work related activities while on the clock should be enough to make a CIO lose sleep.

In this article, Hein shares six ways that employees may be putting your company’s data at risk. They include:

1.    Using cloud storage devices

2.    Opening documents in third-party apps

3.    Sending company data over personal email addresses

4.    Using file transfer apps

5.    USB drives, smartphones, and tablets

6.    Data and IP theft

How it Happens

As you can see, all but the last item can easily be explained as your employees either making innocent mistakes or simply not being informed. This isn’t particularly comforting to CIOs, however, given insights like this:

USB thumb drives, smartphones and tablets: In a recent survey by Symantec, 62 percent of respondents said that it was acceptable to transfer work documents to personal computers, tablets or smartphones. The majority of these files, according to Symantec, are never deleted because employees don't understand the risks involved with keeping them.

Research from Fiberlink sheds some additional (and troubling) light. Fifty-one percent 51 percent of employed U.S. adults surveyed who have personal smartphones/tablets use these mobile devices for work-related purposes and a third of those who responded said that they have lost a USB drive with confidential information on it.

The way to stop these sorts of errors isn’t to limit the amount that employees use them (though the impulse might be very strong to do so), but to educate and control the way that employees use their own devices or outside services to work. Read the full article here:

About Matthew Kabik

Matthew Kabik is the former Editor of Computer Aid’s Accelerating IT Success. He worked at Computer Aid, Inc. from 2008 to 2014 in the Harrisburg offices, where he was a copywriter, swordsman, social media consultant, and trainer before moving into editorial.

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