Personal Use of Company Tech Disrupts Work

 
 
By Dennis McCafferty  |  Posted 12-11-2014 Email
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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    Personal Choice
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    Personal Choice

    67% of employees who work on company-provided computers use the machines for personal or non-work-related content.
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    Partial Commitment
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    Partial Commitment

    68% said they're very familiar with their company's policy on the personal use of company computers, but only 40% follow the policy to the letter. About half do so most of the time.
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    Personal Activities on Work Computers
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    Personal Activities on Work Computers

    Going to social media sites: 36%, Shopping: 34%, Working on a second job/home business: 19%, Playing games online: 19%, Looking for a new job: 14%
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    Risky Business
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    Risky Business

    16% admit that they call up content that is considered NSFW (Not Safe For Work).
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    SOS

    More than one-quarter said they've needed someone from the IT department to fix a computer issue that was caused by a non-work-related activity.
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    Immediate Fallout

    17% caused network downtime by visiting a questionable Website, and 12% said such an action prompted new IT usage policies. 10% said it resulted in the loss of data/intellectual property.
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    Enterprise View
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    Enterprise View

    36% of employees who use company-provided computers said they're concerned about their company's ability to monitor their personal activity on these computers.
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    Capable Crew
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    Capable Crew

    70% believe that an IT admin can just as easily monitor usage on a work-issued tablet as they can on a traditional computer.
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    Surreptitious Storage

    About half said they save work data (including customer lists and other confidential information) to personal cloud-based file-sharing services.
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    Possessive Nature, Part I

    62% of respondents said they would take personal files, such as photos and multimedia, from their work computer if they left their job.
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    Possessive Nature, Part II

    15% said they'd take low-level documents from their work computer if they left their job, and 12% said they'd take high-level docs, such as client lists and financial info. Only 30% said they'd take nothing.
 

A clear majority of professionals working on company-provided computers also use the machines for personal pursuits, according to a recent survey from GFI Software. It's not as if internal users are unaware of policies governing such behavior. It's just that many choose to ignore some of the rules so they can access social media, shop online or even work a second job while in the office. The consequences amount to more than simply an inappropriate use of company time: A number of employees admit that they've caused network downtime by visiting a questionable site. CIOs must come up with clear policies and guidelines on the personal use of company computers, and implement technology solutions that limit access to questionable Websites. Otherwise, they risk productivity disruptions and data loss. "There are clear arguments in favor of letting staff use company computers for a degree of personal activity," says Sergio Galindo, general manager of GFI Software. "It's good for morale and productivity, and it's just common sense. However, people still need to remember that, at the end of the day, it is not their device, and neither is the company data on it. … You would not go racing around a track in a company car, even though they let you take it home for an evening and pay for the gas. The same principle applies to a company computer." A total of 1,010 U.S. employees who use company-provided computers took part in the research.

 
 
 
 
 
Dennis McCafferty is a freelance writer for Baseline Magazine.

 
 
 
 
 
 

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