Online shopping, BYOD don't mix, survey finds

Most US employees who bring personal devices to work have privacy concerns

Ninety percent of U.S. employees who use a computer, tablet PC or smartphone at work feel their online privacy is threatened, but many persist with actions and attitudes that put their privacy and security at risk, according to a survey by nonprofit IT association ISACA.

This risk increases over the holiday season, because employees who use their personal mobile devices at work expect to spend on average 12 hours shopping from those devices for holiday gifts, according to the survey.

The survey of more than 4,500 ISACA members worldwide, including 1,407 respondents in the U.S., examined issues such as BYOD concerns, cloud computing plans, and risk management.

Of the employees who mix the use of work-supplied and personally owned computers or mobile devices: 58 percent would reveal their email address to get a half price discount on a $100 item, 22 percent would reveal the name of the street they grew up on and 15 percent would reveal their mother's maiden name to get the discount.

Respondents to the survey reported engaging in potentially risky online actions at work: 65 percent do not verify the security settings of online shopping sites, 36 percent have clicked on a link on a social media site from their work device, 19 percent used their work email address for personal online shopping or other non-work activities, 12 percent stored work passwords on their personal device, and 11 percent have used a cloud service like Dropbox or Google (NASDAQ: GOOG) Docs for work documents without their company's knowledge.

Enterprises will lose $15,000 or more in productivity as a result of an employee shopping online during work hours, said 37 percent of those surveyed. Close to one quarter believe that the average employee will spend more than two full days shopping online during work hours using a personal computer or smartphone.

Several of the risky actions employees admitted taking were among the most worrisome to IT professionals. Storing passwords on personal devices and using online file-sharing services like Google Docs or Dropbox were two of the top three actions rated as high risk.

Half of the IT professionals surveyed said that the risk of BYOD outweighs the benefits, yet fewer enterprises every year prohibit BYOD.

For more:
- see ISACA release and website

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