GFI Software: Most Employees Use Work Computers for Outside Activities
GFI Software, which was split into LogicNow (which owns the MAXfocus platform for MSPs) and GFI earlier this year, recently found the unrestricted personal use of company devices is leading to major downtime and loss of confidential data in many businesses.
A new GFI Software study of 1,010 U.S. employees who used a company-provided desktop or laptop computer revealed nearly 39 percent of respondents said their businesses have suffered a major IT disruption caused by staff members visiting questionable and other non-work related websites with work-issued hardware, resulting in malware infections and other related issues.
The study also showed nearly 36 percent of staff members said they would not hesitate to take company property, including email archives, confidential documents and other valuable intellectual materials, from their work-owned computer before they returned the device if they were to leave their company.
“Data security and integrity is a big challenge for companies as a result of the widespread movement away from desktop computers to laptops,” GFI Software General Manager Sergio Galindo said in a prepared statement. “Since laptops are usually brought home, they frequently get used out of hours for both work and non-work activities.”
Other study results included:
- Nearly 91 percent of respondents said they have at least some understanding of their company’s policy on company-provided desktop or laptop computer usage, and 94 percent said they follow it to at least some degree.
- Nearly 70 percent said they believe their employer can monitor iOS, Android or Windows-based tablet use as easily as their employer can monitor conventional PC use.
- 48 percent said they use a personal cloud-based file storage solution (e.g. Box, Dropbox, OneDrive) for storing and sharing company data and documents.
- More than a quarter of those surveyed said they have had to get their IT department to fix their computer after an issue occurred as a result of non-work use.
“Without clear policies and guidelines in place on approved personal use boundaries – backed up with technology to limit access to the most challenging parts of the Internet – the dividing line between work tool and personal device can quickly become blurred,” Galindo said.
How can businesses control data security challenges?
Content controls are critical to ensure data does not leak outside of a company or expose a business to legal and regulatory compliance penalties, according to Galindo.
He also pointed out that businesses can better control data security challenges if they adopt clear policies and guidelines for employees.
“Remember, that at the end of the day, it is not [the employee’s] device, and neither is the company data on it,” Galindo said. “You would not go racing around a track in a company car, even though they let you take it home for an evening and pay for the gas. The same principle applies to a company computer. Just because you can use it to access questionable content doesn’t mean it is appropriate to do so.”