Study: When Employees Leave, So Does Your Data

London — July 19

One in three (32 percent) employees have taken or forwarded confidential information out of the office on more than one occasion, according to a recent survey commissioned by information management firm Iron Mountain.

When people change jobs, highly sensitive information is particularly vulnerable. The study found that many employees have no qualms about taking highly confidential or sensitive documents with them when they leave — and most believe they’re doing nothing wrong.

The survey discovered that half (51 percent) of European office workers who take information from their current employer when they switch jobs — 44 percent of those in the U.K. — are helping themselves to confidential customer databases, despite data protection policies forbidding them to do so.

Along with databases, employees who take information are walking out the door armed with presentations (46 percent), company proposals (21 percent), strategic plans (18 percent) and product/service roadmaps (18 percent), all of which represent highly sensitive and valuable information critical to a company’s competitive advantage, brand reputation and customer trust.

The study found that employees who resign don’t generally take information out of malice; they do so because they feel a sense of ownership or believe it will be useful in their next role. Two-thirds said they had taken or would take information they had been involved in creating, and 72 percent said they believed the information would be helpful in their new job.

The picture changes, however, when employees lose their job. The study revealed that as many as one in three office workers (31 percent) would deliberately remove and share confidential information if they were fired.

Source: Iron Mountain