Study: Men More Likely Than Women to Lose Devices with Sensitive Company Data

Don Tennant
Slide Show

Data at Risk: Super Scary Facts

If you’re in an IT shop at a company that has a lot of users to support, you almost certainly have a lot of headaches to deal with. And chances are one of your biggest headaches is dealing with the consequences when those users lose electronic devices that have sensitive company data on them. So who in your organization is most likely to have to make that painful call to IT to report a missing device?

According to a recent employee behavioral study commissioned by TeamViewer, a Germany-based provider of remote-control and online meeting software, the headache-inducing culprit is much more likely to be male than female. The study found that in the 18-to-34 age group, twice as many employed men as employed women say that they’re likely to lose an electronic device with company data on it (60 percent vs. 30 percent). And nearly half of all employed men (46 percent) say they’re likely to lose a device, compared to 27 percent of all employed women. Overall, 37 percent of employed Americans say they’re likely to lose the electronic device they use for work.

If you have a lot of users in your company who travel, that’s bad news for IT. The places where these devices are most likely to be lost are:

  • In a car (15 percent)
  • In a restaurant (13 percent)
  • In a hotel (13 percent)
  • On a train or bus (11 percent)
  • On a plane (10 percent)

Not surprisingly, IT pros aren’t the only ones getting headaches due to loss of company data. The survey found that 54 percent of employed Americans said they’re frustrated by on-the-job data loss. The top sources of frustration include:

  • A power failure just as they’ve finished working on something important (31 percent)
  • Not being able to find a file they know they have at work (26 percent)
  • Lost company files that they’ve spent time working on (23 percent)
  • Replacing a lost electronic device that they use for work (13 percent)
  • Lost company files on a lost electronic device (11 percent)

Moreover, 37 percent of respondents working in companies with 101 to 500 employees reported that they engage in behavior that puts company files at risk. The most common risky behaviors include:

  • Failing to lock their computer when they leave their desk (16 percent)
  • Clicking on links from unfamiliar senders (10 percent)
  • Sharing passwords (10 percent)
  • Viewing questionable content on a company computer (8 percent)
  • Failing to store information on the server (5 percent)

And one more factoid came out of the survey that may be of interest: More than 10 percent of American workers would rather lose a spouse or partner, their hair, their credit cards, or their sex life than the files on their personal or work computer.

A contributing writer on IT management and career topics with IT Business Edge since 2009, Don Tennant began his technology journalism career in 1990 in Hong Kong, where he served as editor of the Hong Kong edition of Computerworld. After returning to the U.S. in 2000, he became Editor in Chief of the U.S. edition of Computerworld, and later assumed the editorial directorship of Computerworld and InfoWorld. Don was presented with the 2007 Timothy White Award for Editorial Integrity by American Business Media, and he is a recipient of the Jesse H. Neal National Business Journalism Award for editorial excellence in news coverage. Follow him on Twitter @dontennant.

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