Many companies believe it is important to protect employee privacy, yet few are effective in doing so

DTEX Systems released a report which revealed a significant workforce privacy gap. The report, conducted by the Ponemon Institute, surveyed a global pool of 1,249 IT and IT security practitioners on their organizations’ approach to securing sensitive information and reducing workforce risks. According to the findings, 63% of respondents say it is important or very important to protect employee privacy in the workforce, but only 34% of organizations are effective or very effective in doing so.

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Difficulties in protecting employee privacy

The research also found that most organizations have a difficult time balancing workforce privacy with the growing perceptions around the need to monitor employee engagement and internal risk, given the shift to remote work. Sixty-four percent of respondents said that it is difficult to track employee activity and performance without affecting their morale or trust in the organization.

At the same time, 53% of companies believe their employees expect their personal behaviors and activities will remain private, but 47% anonymize the employee data they collect while monitoring for security risk and operational performance.

“A key takeaway from this research is that workforce privacy must be a top priority, not simply just a feel good goal,” said DTEX Systems Chief Customer Officer, Rajan Koo.

“The workforce is a source of incredible intelligence, yet organizations continue to fall into a “big brother” surveillance approach that erodes trust and transparency. Draconian tech solutions in the marketplace are only worsening this problem. The findings of this report make it clear – a reckoning is coming.”

How to mitigate risk without affecting employee trust

To mitigate risk without affecting employee trust, organizations should be mindful of collecting data anonymously and minimize the amount of data being collected. According to this report, 65% of respondents say collecting more data than necessary can overtax endpoints and the network, negatively affecting employee productivity.

“Our findings illustrate that organizations need a new approach to workforce privacy, one that embraces the long-standing privacy-by-design approach both in philosophy and in the technology chosen to harvest workforce intelligence,” said Larry Ponemon, Research Director and President of the Ponemon Institute.

“This is supported by the fact that only 38% of respondents said their organizations have the right technologies to mitigate risks and promote efficiency without invading personal privacy. With the other 62% of organizations missing the mark, it’s critical employers shift their mindset about why and how they learn from their workforce.”

The workforce privacy gap

  • Despite the fact that 58% of organizations minimize the amount of data collected about employees, 49% provide transparency about what information is collected about employees onsite and in remote locations
  • Only thirty-five percent of organizations enable their employees to express any concerns about the protection of their privacy in remote locations, and
  • 43% of organizations use technologies that increase employee trust in the monitoring of access and use of sensitive information.

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