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Survey Finds Accessing Corporate Data While Vacationing Is Now the Norm, With Potential Serious Implications to Corporate Security
With bags packed, flights booked and foreign currency in their pockets the workforce might be jetting off but they're definitely not leaving the daily grind behind. Instead these stressed out individuals, a whopping 95% of our sample, will be taking their mobiles and smartphones abroad with them with the expectation of working. That's the remarkable findings of a survey, conducted by CREDANT Technologies amongst 1,000 office workers in the city of London, which discovered 65% of those questioned that plan to take a summer break overseas will remain in contact with the office, check email accounts and text to ensure things stay on track during their absence. Almost half will do so at least once a day even though they should be laying back and taking a well earned break.
Although this survey was carried out amongst 1000 UK city workers, CREDANT conducted a straw poll amongst office workers in both San Francisco and New York to see if the same was true for the US. Interestingly, it discovered that the results practically mirrored the UK findings and, if anything, suggested a slightly higher percentage this side of the Atlantic are working while away.
Diligent, Stressed, Paranoid or Laid Back - which are you?
Unsurprisingly 54% of those that felt they had to be available while away from their desks admitted checking their emails would leave them more stressed instead of relaxed following their break. 58% confessed that the mechanics of remaining in contact, such as data security, caused them additional worry. 46% actually believe remaining in contact would leave them feeling in control and able to relax.
Unstable economy driving necessity to remain contactable
57% blamed being a work junky on the current economic climate making it important that they are reachable while away. 39% believe, rightly or wrongly, that their bosses actually expect to be able to contact them nowadays when taking annual leave.
Almost two thirds using valuable baggage allowance to carry laptops!
In a repeat of its study, first conducted two years ago, to measure "mobile habits, leisure and security" CREDANT has found that 64% of those questioned this year will take a laptop with them on their travels compared with just 33% in 2008. Unfortunately for those companies employing these dutiful workers a shocking 66% will be unencrypted and 51% left totally insecure without even a password for protection! Let's hope they're not left behind at the airport, in a café or on the beach.
Speaking on these results, Darren Shimkus, Worldwide SVP of Marketing for CREDANT Technologies said; "We seem to have changed to a global population of workaholics. Only 35% of our respondents have no contact whatsoever with work during their vacation which puts them firmly in the minority. Although on the surface this may seem like a good trend, especially for cash struck organisations, we deal with the aftermath from these industrious workers when company secrets have gone AWOL. The harsh reality is that when corporate information is accessed from a mobile device, whether it's personal or company owned, and it's misplaced there are consequences.
"Who's to blame? Is it the employee who just can't let go or the employer for making them feel that they have to be accessible in the first place? Regardless of why it's happening and with data privacy regulations getting harsher all the time, our advice to the corporate world is don't leave security up to your staff, do it for them, especially with the HR2221: Data Accountability and Trust Act potentially just one vote away from the President's desk. Take the opportunity to re-evaluate your security - especially of your mobile devices, and perhaps invest in some vacation insurance of your own."
Two respondents spoken to during the straw poll were able to give their insight to current sentiment:
Sean Margolis, an analyst at a financial services company said; "It's a stressful job, and even though it's been a hard year and I deserve a break, when I'm not there it doesn't just go away. I have to know what's going on or I just worry about it. I don't know why but it makes me feel much better keeping my colleagues happy and everyone off my back. You could say it's a control thing, maybe even a perverse form of loyalty, but I'd call it self-preservation. You never know who's got knives out for you and this way I know there's no trouble brewing."
Garry Short, owner of an engineering company, offered his perspective: "It's impossible to completely switch off when away as my customers expect me to make sure things run smoothly. It's hard enough at the moment, as I'm operating on a minimal workforce as it is, so it's unfair to expect them to manage these complex relationships in my absence. Of course there are people in the office to take messages and monitor my email but if I didn't keep on top of my inbox it would take two weeks once I got back to catch up. Also, could you image the repercussions to my business if something major happened and no-one could reach me - it doesn't bear thinking about. It's hard to relax but if I waited until I could switch off completely it'd be after I retired."
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About CREDANT Technologies
CREDANT Technologies is the market leader in endpoint data protection solutions that are critical components of an endpoint protection platform. CREDANT's data security solutions preserve customer brand and reduce the cost of compliance, enabling business to "protect what matters." CREDANT Mobile Guardian is the only centrally managed endpoint data protection solution providing strong authentication, intelligent encryption, usage controls, and key management that guarantees data recovery. By aligning security to the type of user, device and location, CREDANT ensures the audit and enforcement of security policies across all computing endpoints. Strategic partners and customers include leaders in finance, government, healthcare, manufacturing, retail, technology, and services. CREDANT was selected by Red Herring as one of the top 100 privately held companies and top 100 Innovators for 2004, and was named Ernst & Young Entrepreneur Of The Year 2005. Austin Ventures, Menlo Ventures, Crescendo Ventures, Intel Capital, and Cisco Systems are investors in CREDANT Technologies. For more information, visit www.credant.com.
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