It’s often said that the biggest threat to data security comes from people rather than technology – and people conducting private admin on work equipment could be posing a bigger threat than employers realise.
With recent statistics revealing that more than four million employees now work at least 48 hours a week, it seems we are all spending more time in the office. Which, for most of us; working mothers, single people and fathers of large families, leaves precious little time for those other essential but tedious tasks or ‘life admin’.
This week it has been revealed that a huge 82% of full time UK employees spend time undertaking these boring yet necessary jobs while ‘on the clock’. In fact, we now spend more time sorting through our life admin during work time each week (25 minutes) than we do on our lunch breaks (20 minutes).
UK office technology specialists, Altodigital, one of the largest, independent managed services providers in the UK, conducted the study into employee behaviour to identify the amount of people conducting personal tasks whilst using work equipment. They hoped to discover whether employees are aware of the many security risks of doing so – not including being disciplined by their superiors!
The five most common personal tasks conducted at work included:
1. Visiting the doctors (47%)
2. Organising finances (47%)
3. Booking health/beauty appointments (43%)
4. Organising utilities and other bills (40%) and shockingly, even
5. Looking for and applying for other jobs (40%)
Although it does seem understandable that the busy Brits of 2017 will need to book a doctor’s appointment or pay an outstanding water bill while at our desks, many are unaware of the surprising security dangers that accompany these seemingly simple chores.
Four in ten of those questioned revealed that they didn’t believe there were any security risks whatsoever when it comes to inputting personal data on work computers and mobiles, or even on their own equipment whilst connected to a work network, and more than a third have sensitive and confidential details automatically saved onto their computers at work.
In reality, there are several security threats that will arise from even innocently ordering your weekly food shop online. Only a small fraction of respondents realised the following security risks were actually true:
Work related security risks
1. Storing details in web browser or cache (37%)
2. Hacking via email (35%)
3. Other staff members having access to your device (34%)
4. Printing confidential documents to unsecure printers (28%)
5. Information saved to photocopier hard drive (22%)
In addition to this, undertaking ‘life admin’ tasks at work could prove problematic when complying with the upcoming GDPR legislation. As soon as personal information is inputted and stored in a company’s system, the company is then instantly responsible for the security of the data, and firms could risk breaching the new rules, whether they know it or not.
Jas Sura, Security team lead at Altodigital comments:
“Although it may seem like simply ordering a new outfit for the weekend and quickly transferring some money to a friend is a quick and easy task, it may introduce problems further down the line. Site login and bank details may be stored automatically onto your device, meaning that if other staff members have access to it, or you leave your laptop unlocked while you are away from your desk, it could be a confidentiality disaster waiting to happen.
“The explosion in growth of cyber hacking, in both capability and frequency, has caught short businesses of all sizes because it is so easy to do at a basic level. Hacking methods are becoming more and more sophisticated at times capable of fooling more tech-savvy individuals.
“Our recent research revealed that 18% of UK SMEs have been hacked in the last 12 months, with sophisticated email phishing the most common form of hacking. As technology progresses, it’s really important that businesses make steps towards improving their business security – whether that be regularly changing passwords to be more secure, using encryption, having a managed firewall, or making regular backups!