Small Business Employees Flout Web, Mobile Policies

Nearly all respondents with employer-owned mobile devices said they use them for things not related to work--22 percent said they do so often.

Nearly six in 10 respondents (59 percent) said that if they could snap their fingers and remove from the Internet all information that someone could find about them personally, they would, according to a survey of American small business employees.

The study, commissioned by GFI Software, asked 1,119 small business employees about their level of job satisfaction, how they use social media, how they connect to their company networks, how they feel about their management teams, and their confidence in protection from cyber-crime.

Just 36 percent of respondents said their employer’s computers are set up to block them from visiting certain Websites, and 7 percent acknowledge they have at some point lost a mobile computing device that contained company data.

Among workers at small businesses that have IT support on staff or on contract, only 53 percent said their company has written policies governing work computer use, and nearly one-quarter (24 percent) who do admitted having violated those policies.

The study also indicated mobility is becoming increasingly important for small businesses, with 43 percent of employees surveyed connecting to their work networks remotely using a mobile computing device.

In addition, three-quarters of small business employees surveyed said mobile computing has improved their lives because they can work from anywhere, as opposed to 25 percent who said it has made life more stressful because it’s harder to escape work.

Nearly all respondents with employer-owned mobile computing devices said they use them for things not related to work, with 22 percent saying they do so often, 38 percent sometimes and 30 percent rarely.

The vast majority (87 percent) of respondents admitted they feel at least some risk of becoming the victim of identity theft or another crime while using work computer systems. This number includes 6 percent who see “a great deal” of risk and 37 percent who perceive “some” risk.

"While small businesses are subject to many of the same market forces as large enterprises, it’s important to differentiate how the universal trends that drive all businesses impact them uniquely and specifically," Sergio Galindo, head of global product management for GFI Software, said in a statement. "As a company that delivers solutions to these smaller organizations through a mix of on-premise, cloud or managed services, knowing the user base and how they interact with technology is essential to our success."

One-third of respondents said they use social networks for personal reasons while they are working, with 18 percent of these respondents admitting it makes them less productive. In addition, 37 percent of respondents said they use Facebook at least daily.