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Laptop Security Lax for Most Workers

security . / Credit: Laptop Security Image via Shutterstock

Sixty percent of employees say they had confidential information stored on their laptops, but most don't go to the trouble of securing it. 

According to new research, employees report having confidential client information, personal financial information, company information and other personal information on their work laptops, yet most don't worry about it getting stolen.

Fifty-seven percent of workers said they did not own a security device for their laptop. An additional 52 percent of workers said they did not lock their laptop when they left their office and one-quarter of workers said they left their laptop unsecured overnight.   

Those risks are heightened by workers not keeping their passwords secure. Nearly 30 percent of workers said a co-worker had shared passwords with them and 15 percent said they had shared their passwords with others. An additional 12 percent said they kept their passwords written down at their desk.  

Aside from not taking simple security measures, workers have also not participated in the smartest way regarding security.  Eighteen percent of workers admit to clicking on a link or opening an attachment from a sender they did not know. The same number also said they looked at a website they knew was not secure. Nine percent of workers have downloaded a virus on their computer.

[BYOD: A Double-Edged Sword for Employers]

"Laptops and mobile devices are quickly becoming the preferred technologies for many businesses," said Eric Presley, chief technology officer at CareerBuilder, which conducted the research. "It's important for employers and workers alike to take precautions to reduce vulnerabilities and keep company information secure."

To avoid some of the above problems caused by laptops and bring your own device (BYOD), Presley recommends workers follow these tips. 

  • Use hard-to-decipher passwords — Use a different password for home and work and don't share them with anyone. Make sure your mobile phone requires a password as well.
  • Never click on links or attachments from unknown sources — There's a good chance there may be a virus lurking behind the scenes. 
  • Don't leave your laptop unattended — Invest in a laptop security cable and lock your laptop when you're away from your desk. Avoid leaving your laptop in your car.
  • Keep up to date — Make sure your laptop computer's security has the latest anti-virus software to stave off thieves.
  • Keep personal information separate —Store personal financial information and other files on your home computer.

The information in this research was based on the responses of 3,892 workers.  The research was conducted by Harris Interactive for CareerBuilder. 

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