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Dell End-User Security Survey Highlights Security Concern vs. Productivity

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You might say, that when it comes to end-user security awareness and practice, the more things change, the more they stay the same. Having to choose between data security and productivity, employees are more apt to go for the latter, according to the Dell End-User Security Survey 2017 released today.

The truth of the matter is that the potential for unsafe security behaviors in the workplace is extensive —  mobility is the norm, BYOD is common practice, lines are blurred between personal and work life, and storing company data on public cloud services such as Dropbox, Google Drive, iCloud, etc. is widespread.

“While those are a lot of good trends in the workplace that improve end-user satisfaction and productivity, we’re hearing a growing concern from customers about what happens to the data once its moved,” said Brett Hansen, vice president endpoint data security and management at Dell.{ad}

The recent Dell survey solicited responses from about 2,600 business professionals who handle confidential data at companies with more than 250 employees. The global survey was conducted in eight countries including Australia, Canada, France, Germany, India, Japan, the U.K. and the U.S.

If you want to call it good news, about two in three employees, or 65 percent, noted that they felt it is their responsibility to protect confidential data, including educating themselves on the possible risks and behaving in a way that protects the company. However, only 36 percent of employees feel confident in their knowledge of how to protect sensitive information. At the same time, about two-thirds of employees reported being required to complete cybersecurity training on protecting sensitive data.

Despite taking the training, 18 percent of respondents noted performing unsafe behavior in the workplace without realizing that what they were doing was wrong and another 34 percent of cybersecurity-trained employees conducted unsafe behavior because they wanted to get their job done.

Seventy-six percent of survey respondents said their company prioritizes security at the expense of employee productivity. At the same time about the same number of survey takers admitted that they would share sensitive, confidential or regulated company information under certain circumstances —  the most likely…

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…cited: being directed to do so by management (43 percent), sharing with a person specifically authorized to receive it (37 percent), determining that the risk to their company is very low and the potential benefit high (23 percent), feeling it will help them do their job more effectively (22 percent), and feeling it will help the recipient do their job more effectively (13 percent).{ad}

The Dell End-User Security Survey also noted that certain industries deal with corporate information that is more easily categorized as highly sensitive, but still employees may be willing to share sensitive data under certain circumstances. Nearly four in five employees in financial services (81percent) will share sensitive, confidential or regulated company information. This means that among the top four banks in the United States, more than 586,000 employees have the propensity to share sensitive data. Taking a look at some other industries: employees in healthcare (68 percent), federal government (68 percent) and education (75 percent), while still less likely to share data than the overall business population, also share confidential or regulated data on occasion.

On a final note —  35 percent of employees say it’s common to take corporate information with them when they leave a company.


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