Many Canadian businesses unprepared for mobile workplace data breaches, study finds


While Canadian businesses are continuing to embrace workplace mobility, they aren’t implementing proper data protection policies and training, according to a new findings from the Shred-it Security Tracker.

The study, conducted by Ipsos, found that nearly 90 percent of C-Suite Executives (C-Suites) and half of Small Business Owners (SBOs) reported their employees are able to work off-site in some capacity. Further, more than two-thirds of businesses said they believe that the trend towards working remotely will only increase over the next five years.

That said, 82 percent of C-Suites and 63 percent of SBOs said they feel that they are more susceptible to data breaches when employees work off-site.

A significant reason for this, according to the study, is that many of these companies don’t employ proper data protection protocols and relevant employee training procedures to prevent data breaches from happening.

Specifically, the study found that:

  • Forty-six percent of SBOs said they don’t have any policy for storing and disposing of confidential information handled by off-site employees
  • Thirty-eight percent of SBOs reported not having any protocols in place when any employee (both on- or off-site) use electronic devices containing confidential information
  • Only 27 percent of SBOs offer employee training on using public Wi-Fi compared to 48 percent of C-Suites
  • C-Suites reported training their employees to keep sensitive information out-of-sight when working in a public space (58 percent), sharing company-issued electronic devices with family and friends (53 percent), and keeping company-issued devices safe from interference at home (53 percent)

“In an era of increasing workplace mobility and one in which a single data breach can destroy a business’s bottom line and reputation, companies have no choice but to make information security a priority,” said Shred-it vice president Paul Saabas in a press statement. “One of the smartest things a company can do to differentiate itself today is to make data security a core part of its business practices and communicate this to consumers.”

Additionally, Shred-it found that out of all age groups, millennials (18-34) are less effective at implementing safe data protection practices than generation X (35-55) and baby boomers (55+).

According to the study:

  • Forty-eight percent of millennials leave their notebooks (which may contain sensitive information) on their desk after leaving work, compared to 37 percent of generation X and 21 percent of baby boomers
  • Thirty-seven percent of millennials report regularly leaving their computers turned on and unlocked, compared to 22 percent of generation X and 12 percent of baby boomers
  • Only half of millennials regularly shred confidential documents, compared to 65 percent of generation X and 52 percent of baby boomers

Source: Canada Newswire