Australian employees sharing sensitive data over IM

By Dylan Bushell-Embling
Thursday, 25 March, 2021

Australian employees sharing sensitive data over IM

Two-thirds of Australian employees admit to having shared sensitive and critical business data over collaboration platforms including Teams, Zoom and Slack, exposing organisations to risk, according to research from Veritas.

The research found that employees are taking data outside of the control of their employers, with 53% admitting to save their own copies of information they share over instant messaging, creating the risk of privacy violations.

Conversely, 47% of knowledge workers are deleting the information entirely. But this too could leave companies open to significant fines if regulators ask to see a paper trail.

Likewise, while employees are using collaboration tools to close deals, process orders and agree to pay raises, many are doing this despite believing that there will be no formal record of the discussion or agreement, with only 48% believing the business they worked for was saving the critical information.

The research also suggests that as a result of receiving information over messaging and collaboration tools, 24% of employees have accepted and processed an order, 21% have accepted a reference for a job candidate and 20% have accepted a signed version of a contract.

Veritas Director for Strategy and Architecture Geoffrey Coley attributed the concerning results to the need for businesses and employees to radically change their way of working amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

“For many Australians, our entire way of work has been reset since the start of 2020. Companies are rushing to bolster their data protection ways of working to include the platforms where their business is actually being conducted,” he said.

Since the start of the pandemic, time spent on tools such as Zoom and Teams has increased by 21% to an average of 2.3 hours daily, the research found. Sensitive data continues to be shared over the tools despite 29% of knowledge workers admitting to having been reprimanded by their bosses for this practice.

Image credit: ©

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