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Risky Business: Are Workers’ Technology Habits a Risk for Employers?

Your company’s greatest security threat could be your own employees, a new CareerBuilder survey reveals.

While not every company has to worry about employees leaving iPhone prototypes at the local watering hole (if I had a quarter…), a new CareerBuilder survey about laptop security finds that many workers could be putting their companies at a security risk, thanks to unsecured laptops, shared passwords and opened links from unknown sources.

According to the survey of more than 3,800 workers nationwide:

  • 61 percent of workers with laptops say they have critical, sensitive information stored on them – including company, client and personal financial information
  • 18 percent of workers have clicked on email links or attachments from unknown senders
  • 57 percent of workers don’t have a laptop security device, 52 percent don’t lock their computer when they’re away from their desk, and 25 percent have left their laptop unsecured overnight

Playing with Firewall
Sometimes the promise of seeing the latest “Call Me Maybe” meme is just too tempting to pass up; however, a seemingly simple act like clicking on a link from an unknown source can generate serious consequences. According to the survey…

  • 9 percent of workers have downloaded a virus on their computer at work
  • 18 percent of workers have opened an attachment or clicked on a link from a sender they didn’t know.
  • 18 percent have looked at a website that they knew wasn’t secure while at work

And when it comes to passwords, the term “confidential” is lost on some employees. For instance…

  • 12 percent keep their passwords at their desks, written on their laptops or in their computer cases, purses or wallets
  • 27 percent say a co-worker has shared a password with them
  • 15 percent have shared a password with a co-worker

Practice Safe Security: 5 Tips

As more employers rely on laptops and mobile devices to run their businesses, security issues become increasingly important. “It’s important for employers and workers alike to take precautions to reduce vulnerabilities and keep company information secure,” says Eric Presley, Chief Technology Officer at CareerBuilder. Presley offers the following recommendations employers can use and pass on to their employees, in order to keep business information secure.

  1. Use hard-to-decipher passwords. Use a different password for home and work, and don’t share these passwords with anyone.  Make sure your mobile phone requires a password as well.
  2. Never click on links or attachments from unknown sources. There’s a good chance there may be a virus lurking behind the scenes.
  3. Don’t leave your laptop unattended.  Invest in a laptop security cable and lock your laptop when you’re away from your desk.  Avoid leaving your laptop in your car.
  4. Keep up to date. Make sure your laptop computer’s security has the latest antivirus software to stave off thieves.
  5. Keep personal information separate. Store personal financial information and other files on your home computer.

Is laptop security a concern at your organization?

Mary Lorenz

About Mary Lorenz

Mary is a copywriter for CareerBuilder, specializing in B2B marketing and corporate recruiting best practices and social media. In addition to creating copy for corporate advertising and marketing campaigns, she researches and writes about employee attraction, engagement and retention. Whenever possible, she makes references to pop culture. Sometimes, those references are even relevant. A New Orleans native, Mary now lives in Chicago, right down the street from the best sushi place in the city. It's awesome.
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