Most employees use unsanctioned group chat tools

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Employees are sharing sensitive company information using group chat tools that are not officially sanctioned for use, according to SpiderOak.

unsanctioned group chat tools

The survey consisted of 600 full-time workers ages 21 and older who live in the United States. Company sizes ranged from 50 employees or fewer to 500 employees or more, with 39.1% of respondents reporting they work for a company with 50 employees or fewer, 33.6% reporting they work for a company with 500 employees or more, and 27.1% reporting they work for a company with 51-500 employees.

The results show that of the survey respondents who reported using group chat tools to communicate with coworkers, 76.8 percent of respondents use unsanctioned tools. Surprisingly, more individuals belonging to IT and leadership groups reported using unsanctioned group chat tools than any other group.

Despite companies implementing an authorized group chat tool, many employees are using unsanctioned tools:

  • Nearly half of survey respondents reported that they use group chat tools to communicate with coworkers (47.8 percent).
  • Of this percentage, the majority of respondents always, often, or sometimes use unsanctioned tools to communicate with team members (76.8 percent).
  • Of the population that uses unsanctioned group chat tools despite having an officially sanctioned tool at work, nearly one quarter works in IT, and almost 15 percent work in leadership.

Employees use unsanctioned group chat tools because they are easier and/or more fun to use than the authorized group chat tool their employer provides:

  • Respondents indicated that they use unsanctioned tools because they are easier or “more fun” to use (55.7 percent and 27.5 percent, respectively) than the group chat tools their company implements.
  • Skype, iMessage, WhatsApp, Slack, Facebook Workplace, office intranet messaging systems, Microsoft Teams, HipChat, Semaphor, and others are among the group chat tools that respondents reported using to communicate in the workplace.

Employees who share sensitive information on unsanctioned group chat tools lack personal experience in security breaches or identity theft:

  • The majority of respondents who use unsanctioned tools reported that they share sensitive company information on these tools, such as planning or strategic information, product-related information and documents, customer information, and financial information (59.2 percent, 52.4 percent, 43.4 percent, and 25.3 percent, respectively).
  • Most of these respondents (76.4 percent) reported that they have not, to their knowledge, had their identity stolen or had an online account compromised.