Employees put sensitive data at risk in workplace chat sessions

Chat network

Around a quarter of employees share confidential information via chat sessions, and a similar number talk badly about their boss, while 78 percent wouldn’t care if some of this information was exposed publicly.

These are among the findings of a new study by secure collaboration platform Symphony which surveyed over 1,500 employees in the US and UK about their workplace communication habits.


Other bad habits include 27 percent knowingly connecting to an unsecured network, 25 percent using a personal email to conduct business, 36 percent using personal computers or phones to conduct work, and 29 percent sharing work materials with a personal email or messaging application.

Employees also admit to using messaging and collaboration platforms to send memes and photos (25 percent) and to discuss their personal lives (76 percent). Millennials are twice as likely to download a communication app or service not approved by IT and to share confidential information over chat.

"The way we work is changing," says Jonathan Christensen, chief experience officer at Symphony. "Collaboration platforms and other innovations bring positive improvements that enable more flexibility and better work-life balance. But a more casual approach to workplace communications, and digital habits in general presents major security risks. Employees won't keep secure practices on their own, and employers must consider how they will secure workforce communication over messaging and collaboration tools, just like they did with email."

On a positive note though Symphony’s survey also uncovers the ways messaging and collaboration tools support work-life balance. Employees indicate that email is still the most overwhelming communication channel for them, with 69 percent reporting that email makes them feel the most overwhelmed at work, while only 11 percent say the same of collaboration platforms.

Employees also report spending nearly a quarter of their time at work checking email, and indicated a desire to shift away from it. 80 percent believe using a messaging and collaboration tool improves communication and productivity between them and remote colleagues, as compared to via email and phone. Additionally, employees identify common workplace interactions they would prefer to be moved onto a chat platform, with the most popular including scheduling meetings (51 percent) and holding internal team conversations (45 percent).

You can find out more on the Symphony blog.

Photo credit: A1Stock/Shutterstock

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