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Despite the cybersecurity risks involved, 1 in 5 employees:
That’s according to a new study by Softchoice, a North American IT solutions and managed services provider, which also found that employees using cloud-based apps (think Google Docs and Dropbox) “continue to display reckless technology habits that put their employers at risk.”
The study, (Still) Careless Users in the Cloud, found that 1 in 3 cloud app users have downloaded an app without letting their IT department know.
“Employees display a wide range of bad habits, from lax password security to rogue IT behavior. If something doesn’t change, organizations will be placed in an extremely vulnerable position,” David MacDonald, Softchoice’s president and CEO, stated in a news release. “Risky behavior and data vulnerabilities are almost guaranteed to persist if organizations don’t provide training and direction on cybersecurity best practices for the apps, platforms and IT tools employees use on a daily basis.”
Tech-savvy companies and their employees were eager to embrace the convenience of cloud-based computing in 2014. That’s when storing documents, photos and other information in the cloud became more prevalent because doing so allowed workers easier access to content from any device at any time and from anywhere.
Yet experts say such behaviors lead to data vulnerabilities. Some advocate for banning the use of personal cloud accounts for work but caution that doing so may impact morale and lead to lower employee engagement. Some believe a lot of the issues surrounding IT security could be mitigated if companies would train their employees on better online security habits—especially if workers are accessing company files from cloud-based services.
When employees are “downloading and using apps without IT’s knowledge, keeping passwords in plain view on Post-it Notes, and not password-protecting their mobile devices … [they’re] putting themselves and their employers at risk,” said Francis Li, vice president of Toronto-based Softchoice, in an interview with SHRM Online.
Softchoice polled 1,500 North American full-time employees to better understand their behavior when it comes to technology and how having access to cloud-based applications has impacted their behavior.
Among the study’s findings:
Experts and studies reveal that most companies have yet to embrace training staff on better online security habits.
MacDonald said, “By allocating time and resources for ongoing training and communication about cloud best practices, organizations can make a difference in their employees’ habits.”
Security training is paramount, according to Verizon’s 2016 Data Breach Investigations Report, because “cybercriminals are continuing to exploit human nature as they rely on familiar attack patterns such as phishing, and increase their reliance on ransomware, where data is encrypted and a ransom is demanded.”
Aliah D. Wright is an online editor/manager for SHRM. You can reach her on Twitter @1SHRMScribe.
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