Most SMB employees in fear of identity theft in the workplace

The smaller business workplace has transformed into a mobile-enabled, agile, and satisfying environment, but one where the workforce is acutely aware and worried about the threat to their personal online information, an independent study funded by GFI Software has revealed.

A blind survey polled 1,119 respondents who work in organisations with between two and 99 employees on all aspects of working in small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs), from job satisfaction and views on management to the state of small business IT provision and use of social media.

The study found that a healthy 81% of SMB employees surveyed are satisfied with their job overall. However, despite the above-average job happiness levels, the same employees also recorded significant concerns about the impact online working has on their personal safety and information security.

Nearly six in 10 respondents (59%) said if they could snap their fingers and remove all of their personal information from the Internet they would, citing concerns over identity theft as a primary motive. Overall, 87% of those surveyed admitted they felt at risk of becoming the victim of identity theft or another crime while using work computer systems and devices, which includes 6% who see “a great deal” of risk and 37% who perceive “some” risk.

Among workers at small businesses that have IT support on staff or on contract, only 53% said their company had documented policies governing the use of company-owned IT devices and/or the use of computers in the workplace. Even more startling, 24% who do have documented policies in place admitted to violating them, further adding to concerns over IT security and safety for all employees.

GFI’s study also revealed that, despite many smaller organisations aggressively adopting the technologies, tools and working practices of their larger rivals, 75% of those surveyed believe mobile computing has improved their work/life balance and helped their organsation’s workforce become more agile, as opposed to 25% who said it has made life more stressful because it extends the length of the working day and removes the divide between work and personal time.

Additional findings from the report include:

  • Nearly all respondents with employer-owned mobile computing devices said they use them for things not related to work; 22% said they do so often, 38% sometimes and 30% rarely
  • 37% of small business employees surveyed said they use Facebook at least daily
  • 7% admitted they have at some point lost a mobile computing device that contained company data
  • Only 36% of respondents said their employer’s computers are set up to block them from visiting certain websites.

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