Employee Privacy Gap Discovered

Two thirds of organizations are not effective at protecting the privacy of their employees, according to new research conducted by the Ponemon Institute.

While gathering information for DTEX Systems’ inaugural State of Workforce Privacy & Risk Report, the Institute discovered a significant workforce privacy gap. 

The report, created with sponsorship from cyber-intelligence company DTEX, surveyed a global pool of 1,249 IT and IT security practitioners. Participants were questioned about their organizations’ approach to securing sensitive information and reducing workforce risks. 

Findings revealed that 63% of respondents believe it is important or very important to protect employees’ privacy in the workforce. However, only slightly more than a third (34%) of organizations are effective or very effective in doing so.

Researchers also found that most organizations struggle to balance respecting workforce privacy against a perceived need to monitor employee engagement and internal risk. 

Sixty-four percent of survey respondents said that tracking employee activity and performance without damaging their morale or diminishing their trust in the organization was a difficult task. 

More than half (53%) of companies believe their employees expect their personal behaviors and activities to remain private. However, fewer than half (47%) of companies anonymize the data they collect on their employees for the purposes of monitoring for security risk and operational performance.

Fewer than half (49%) of companies were transparent about what information about their employees was being collected onsite and remotely. 

The shift to remote work was seen as a reason to keep an even closer eye on the workforce. However, only 35% of organizations enable their employees to express any concerns about the protection of their privacy in remote locations.

A key takeaway from this research is that workforce privacy “must be a top priority, not simply just a feel-good goal,” said DTEX Systems chief customer officer, Rajan Koo. 

“The workforce is a source of incredible intelligence, yet organizations continue to fall into a ‘big brother’ surveillance approach that erodes trust and transparency. Draconian tech solutions in the marketplace are only worsening this problem. The findings of this report make it clear – a reckoning is coming.”

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