Thursday, April 5, 2012

Disturbing study about the (mis)use of employers’ confidential information

Here’s the good news: According to a recent survey conducted by FileTrek, 79% of Americans believe that removing confidential files from the office is grounds for termination. Here’s the bad news: 90% think that employees do it anyway. What is the most popular method of removing information? Exporting it to a USB drive.

Some more scary numbers? How about the answers to the question, “When is it acceptable to remove confidential company information out of the office?”

  • 48% — When boss says it’s okay
  • 32% — To finish a late night project from home
  • 30% — To work over the weekend or while on vacation
  • 16% — When the confidential information about themselves
  • 2% — When it can be brought back to the office before the boss knows it was gone
  • 2% — To show something to family or friends who promise to keep it confidential
  • 40% — Never

According to Dale Quayle, CEO of FileTrek, “Today’s workforce believes information is an asset to be shared…. It’s critical for today’s management teams to be more IP aware to ensure data security.”

Where does this IP awareness start? With a clear set of policies and agreements that prioritize the confidentiality of your information and data. You need to set the expectation in your organization that you take confidentiality seriously, and those that do not should not expect to remain employed. You also need to be prepared to enforce that confidentiality with litigation when necessary. Otherwise, the agreements may not be worth the paper on which they are printed.

[Hat tip: Huffington Post]