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Ignorance isn’t bliss: GDPR fines loom as staff ignore IT data policies

Large swathes of staff ignoring IT policies when it comes to confidential data.

By James Nunns

UK businesses are running the risk of being hit by huge financial penalties due to their staff ignoring company policies regarding confidential data.

With the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) coming into force in less than a year, it’s been discovered that  8% of workers have had access to confidential information that they should not have had, whilst 24% admit to storing work information in the public cloud even though they are not permitted to.

Further findings uncovered in research from Sharp found that 23% use public file sharing sites without business approval, and  31% ignore office protocol by taking work home to complete.

Read more: You’ve Been Breached, What Now?

Unfortunately ignorance isn’t an adequate defence for every member of staff, especially those working in HR that are ignoring IT data policies. Sharp found that 30% of respondents who work in HR have stored information in the public cloud, ignoring policy.

Stuart Sykes, Managing Director at Sharp Business Systems, said; “It is up to businesses to find the right balance between modern ways of working and secure data sharing. When you also consider that 75% of the workforce is now mobile and 81% of employees access work documents on the go, businesses need to do more to keep up with their workers.”

IT dataThe problem is widespread, and aren’t limited to digital information. Around two third (59%) of workers reported that colleagues leave printed pages in the printer tray.

Security and privacy expert Dr Karen Renaud said: “As long as businesses continue to require or implicitly overlook insecure behaviours, security will always be sacrificed.”

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It’s clear that businesses need to significantly improve their staff training if they want to improve their security and make it even remotely possible that they will avoid breaching GDPR rules.

The research is based on the responses of 6,045 office workers across the EU, with 1,006 office workers in the UK.

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