Monday 24 June 2019

Irish office workers admit leaving passwords on post-its and sharing data from an old job

Karen O’Connor, General Manager, Datapac
Karen O’Connor, General Manager, Datapac
Louise Kelly

Louise Kelly

Worrying workplace practices and employee concern about their company's ability to protect their sensitive data have been highlighted in a recent survey of Irish office staff.

Tech solutions provider Datapac and network security firm Sophos published a report which revealed some alarming feedback based on the responses of some 500 office workers across the country.

Less than half (47pc) of respondents trust their employers completely in the safeguard of customers' data, while just 42pc believe that their own personal data is secure.

Furthermore, worrying trends as regards password management in the workplace emerged over the course of the study with a fifth of employees admitting keeping their password on a post-it.

With close to half (44pc) of those surveyed using three or less passwords for all of their work and personal online accounts, 31pc have shared their password with a colleague and 16pc have shared their work password with someone outside of the office.

Ireland country manager at Sophos Dermot Hayden said that the results of the survey serve as a "wake-up call" for employers.

"Careless behaviour with passwords can easily lead to damaging security breaches and it is important for employers to take the lead on this issue by ensuring adequate processes and controls are in place to protect their business," he said.

Despite GDPR regulation coming into force last May, some 41pc of office workers said that they have yet to receive any formal training around the new rules.

This accompanies poor data management practices which include 17pc of respondents accessing work documents from a previous job, and 14pc sharing similar data from a previous employer.

"Businesses are encouraged to take a step back - assess the data they process, understand the threats and risks as they pertain to their organisation, and then look to put the relevant controls in place," Karen O’Connor, General Manager, Datapac, said.

The survey results were published as the Irish Data Protection Commissioner (DPC)'s latest annual report shows a slew of complaints and breach notifications concerning Facebook and its subsidiaries of Instagram and WhatsApp.

The watchdog now has 10 statutory inquiries into Facebook, representing over a fifth of all such inquiries and two thirds of its probes into multinational firms.

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