Employees will take bigger risks during this holiday season

Employees in the US plan to spend less time shopping online from a work-supplied computer this holiday season than they did a year ago, but more of them are engaging in risky online behavior, according to an ISACA survey.

Employees are expecting to spend an average of 6 hours shopping from a work computer or mobile device this holiday season vs. 14 hours in 2009, with 20 percent planning to spend 9 hours or more. But, there is an increase this year in the number of employees who take risky actions online, such as clicking on an e-mail link or providing their work e-mail address when shopping online, and 42 percent report accessing social network sites from their work-supplied computer or mobile device.

This year’s survey also found that almost half (47 percent) of those who will shop online with company devices will do so using a portable device, such as a notebook computer, tablet or smart phone. This increases a company’s security risk because these devices are often used on wireless networks outside of a protected corporate network. They also are more easily lost or stolen, and contain corporate data that are typically not encrypted.

Employees say the top three reasons for shopping online at work are that it is a convenient use of lunch/break time (38 percent), they are working long hours and don’t have time to shop from home (17 percent) and they are bored at work (11 percent).

Security is not a major worry for survey participants, with only 3 percent citing “better security” as a reason for shopping using a work computer. Under two-thirds do not use secure browsing technology on work-supplied devices. Forty-one percent assume their IT department updates their security patches.

This attitude is especially common among digital natives, who have grown up with the Internet. Young adults (ages 18-34) in the survey are the most likely to shop online using work-supplied computers or mobile devices and are more inclined to use their personal computers for business.

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