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Workers Don't Respect Workplace Confidentiality

information, security, private, company secrets . / Credit: File Image via Shutterstock

Workers just can’t seem to leave work at the office. In a new survey, 60 percent of adults said it is acceptable to remove confidential files from work under certain circumstances. That comes in spite of the fact that workers in the same poll regarded removing such files as one of the offenses most meriting the worker's dismissal, even ahead of having sex with a subordinate.

In fact, according to the FileTrek January 2012 Document Security Survey, the only worse job offenses than file removal were sexual harassment and incompetence on the job. 

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Even so, there are a few circumstances in which workers, who have an increase of technologies allowing them to work from home, said removing files is acceptable.  In order of popularity, they included :

  • When the boss says it's okay to do so (48 percent)
  • To finish a late-night project from home instead of having to stay at the office (32 percent) 
  • To work over the weekend or while on vacation (30 percent) 
  • When the  confidential information is about themselves (16 percent)
  • When it can be brought back to the office before the boss knows it was gone (2 percent)  
  • To show something to family or friends who promise to keep it confidential (2 percent)  

A majority of workers also said they dreaded being accused of taking confidential files home and of being asked by superiors about co-workers who had taken files home. 

Among other findings, the survey highlights the changing attitudes of workers, FileTrek said. Younger workers, between the ages of 18 and 34, felt it was both more acceptable and less of a termination-worthy offense to remove confidential material than did their counterparts who are 55 or older.

"Business leaders need to be aware of the changing attitudes toward company IP in the modern workplace," said Dale Quayle, CEO of FileTrek, referring to intellectual property. "Today's work force believes information is an asset to be shared, and while companies have benefited from this collaborative attitude with new technologies and increased productivity, there are risks, too. Few cloud services provide the security necessary to track where their confidential data goes. It’s critical for today’s management teams to be more IP-aware to ensure data security."

The information in the survey was conducted by Harris Interactive and was based on the answers of 2,625 people.   

Reach BusinessNewsDaily staff writer David Mielach at Dmielach@techmedianetwork.com. Follow him on Twitter @D_M89.