Almost a quarter of workers have purposefully leaked confidential information

New research from Egress Software Technologies reveals that many workers have shared business data with competitors, while many others have accidentally insulted people they’ve emailed

Almost a quarter of workers have purposefully leaked confidential information

By all accounts, we’re seemingly living in the age of enormous data breaches. From the WannaCry ransomware crippling the NHS to tech giants like Netflix and Yahoo being breached by outsiders, entrepreneurs have had plenty of warnings to take cybersecurity seriously. However, while business leaders are advised to keep a watchful eye on external threats, new research shows that they should also worry about employees purposefully leaking confidential information to competitors.

Commissioned by Egress Software Technologies, the data-privacy and risk-management company, and carried out by OnePoll, the survey of 2,000 UK workers has unveiled that 24% of workers have shared confidential business information with a competitor. Additionally, 9% confessed to having accidentally leaked sensitive attachments such as bank details or customer information by accidentally forwarding emails and attachments to the wrong person.

But business leaders don’t just have to worry about workers leaking company secrets to the competition: they may also need to keep an eye on their email habits. The research revealed that 37% of workers don’t always check emails before sending them; while 68% of these email mishaps were down to employees being in a rush, 8% were due to the sender having consumed alcohol. Others blamed things like autofill technology or simply selecting the wrong recipient in a list. Even more embarrassingly, 40% of those who’d sent an email to the wrong person accidentally insulted the recipient or included rude jokes, swear words and even risqué messages.

Commenting on the research, Tony Pepper, CEO and co-founder of Egress Software Technologies, said: “Email is frequently misused by the UK workforce. While offending an accidental recipient may cause red faces, leaking confidential information can amount to a data breach. As we move towards the EU General Data Protection Regulation, it has never been more important to get a grip on any possible risk points within the organisation and, as this research shows, email needs serious attention.”

While cybersecurity technology may protect companies from external breaches, evidently their own workers’ maliciousness or clumsiness could still cause entrepreneurs a lot of headaches.

Eric Johansson
Eric Johansson

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