New Study Uncovers the Risky Behaviors of Employees Which Could Lead to Security Breaches in Highly Regulated Industries
- 41% of employees say security policies restrict the way they work; 36% of employees admit to finding ways to work around security policies.
- 64% of people use a personal device for work but only 43% of those devices are secured.
- 72% of employees value their personal privacy over company security.
Since the start of the pandemic, the modern workforce has become increasingly distributed, while employers have not been able to keep up with the changes in the way employees work. As a result, many high-risk activities and human behaviors continue to occur at the front line. According to a new study, 36 percent of employees admit to finding ways to work around security policies, and 72 percent value their personal privacy over company security. The study also proves that password hygiene among employees is risky, onboarding of new employees is inefficient, and Shadow IT is out of control.
“Until employers prioritize the importance of each component within the Endpoint Ecosystem, their company security and employee productivity are going to be exposed to serious risk,” said Denis O’Shea, founder of Mobile Mentor.
The report, which was commissioned by Mobile Mentor and fielded by CGK, is an inaugural study that examines The Endpoint Ecosystem as the key to understand how employees perceive privacy, productivity, and personal well-being in the modern workplace. The study defines the Endpoint Ecosystem as the combination of all the devices, applications and tools plus the employee’s experience using that technology. The study presents a groundbreaking look at the tradeoffs between security and employee experience that every employer must face.
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“When the endpoint ecosystem works well, you have a secure, productive and happy workforce,” said Denis O’Shea, founder of Mobile Mentor. “It’s always been important, but it became urgent over the last two years when the pandemic forced more people to work remotely, cybersecurity attacks increased, and the Great Resignation forced employers to rethink how they support their employees.”
The study illustrates that the Endpoint Ecosystem is an employee’s journey from the day they begin their job and includes the onboarding process, all the way to the last day when their accounts are being revoked. Navigating trade-offs between endpoint security and employee experience has always been challenging but it has become critical in this post-pandemic world.
“Until employers prioritize the importance of each component within the Endpoint Ecosystem, their company security and employee productivity are going to be exposed to serious risk,” O’Shea added.
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In late 2021, Mobile Mentor commissioned CGK to field the study of 1,500 employees across four high-risk and highly regulated industries: healthcare, finance, education and government. Employees were located in the United States and Australia. Each interview consisted of 25 questions to understand how employees are using devices in a post-pandemic world. The goal of the study is to gather data to educate and inform employers how devices in their industries are being used, how to prevent security breaches, and how to best support productive employees.
The study also highlights the following findings:
- Employees have too many passwords and their passwords are a huge liability. Only 31 percent of people use a password management tool. Twenty-nine percent of employees write their work passwords in a personal journal and 69 percent admit to choosing passwords that are easy to remember.
- Shadow IT is out of control. Employees are routinely using unapproved apps for work activities that may contain sensitive data. More than 41 percent of employees say security policies restrict the way they work and 36 percent admit to finding ways to work around security policies. Fifty-three percent of workers believe they are more efficient using non-work apps like Dropbox and Gmail.
- The employee onboarding process is clunky, especially for remote employees. It takes an average of 3 days to get a new employee fully set-up on their devices and requires 3 support calls.
- The use of personal devices is rampant and many employers have not addressed the security risk. Sixty-four percent of employees use a personal device for work but only 43 percent of those devices are securely enabled.
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