Endpoint Security

The Erosion of "Work Hours" and Data Security

June 23, 2015

The demographic shift in the workplace has been big news lately, and with the near-dominance of the Millennial Generation, the impact is starting to be felt. Millennials are the single largest generation in the US workforce, a generation which will account for 75% of the workforce within 10 years.

Earlier, we saw similar data out of the 2015 Internet Trends Report, which showed that 87% of US Millennials say their smartphone never leaves their side, day or night. Millennials expect to be able to work whenever - and wherever - they are. A new study by ThinkingPhones looks into the blurring between “work” and “personal” time, asking the question, “does the workday ever really end?"

According to the study, 26% of employees handle work-related correspondence (email, text, phone calls) on their mobile device within an hour of going to bed and 48% do so before they leave for work in the morning (many within 15 minutes of waking up!). Even more indicative of the erasure of standard work time, 82% of employees respond to work emails on vacation, 53% respond in the bathroom, and 18% respond on a date!

With more than 60% of polled employees responding to work-emails outside work hours, it’s clear that the work day doesn’t really “end” anymore. Not only do employees feel compelled to answer correspondence outside work hours, they additionally expect a speedy response from others outside work hours as well.

Obviously, this connectedness is a concern for data security. Emails, texts, work files - how secure are they? Is data encrypted? Is the device protected against theft or loss? Are passwords shared among work and personal sites, compromising corporate security? Given the amount of pressure that employees feel to be “connected” at all times, they’ll likely go outside restrictive data security policies in order to get their work done.

So, what’s the solution to balancing always-on connectivity with data security? A data-led approach to enabling business and protecting data is based on 3 key elements: policy (how data and devices can be used), training / education (that is engaging and relevant) and technology to protect the business if / when a security incident occurs. Such technology must be able to prove compliance processes are in place, such as can be achieved with Persistence technology by Absolute.

As Stephen Midgley recently wrote in Don’t Let Data be the ‘Bad Guy, in order to protect corporate data, and remain flexible, the attitude toward data must be set from the top. A corporate culture that can embrace a modern way of working is a very powerful asset for any organization. To learn how to secure your corporate data while maintaining flexibility, contact us here at Absolute.

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