Many workers don't trust their employers not to take peek at their personal mobile data, according to a new report from Aruba Networks (PDF). Not only is this distrust undermining "bring your own device" (BYOD) initiatives, it's putting business data at risk.
A global survey of 3,014 employees, conducted by Shape The Future, revealed that 45 percent of Americans, 25 percent of Europeans and 31 percent of Middle Easterners had concerns about their employers accessing non-work data on their personal mobile devices. These fears can have a damaging effect on employee morale.
When the research firm asked users about how they would feel if they discovered that their IT departments accessed their personal data, "41 percent in Europe, 47 percent in the Middle East and 46 percent in the US would feel 'violated' by this news," said the report.
Just as troubling is the news that many organizations aren't even bothering to secure their own business data, particularly in the U.S.
A slim majority of Americans (51 percent) reported that their companies aren't implementing any sort of mobile security controls, essentially taking a free-for-all approach to business files and data on personal devices. The figures improve substantially for European (34 percent) and Middle Eastern businesses (35 percent).
This climate of mutual suspicion is leading to some risky behaviors, warned Aruba Networks.
Eleven percent of American workers said that even if company data slipped out of their networks, they would not report that their personal devices were compromised. In Europe, 13 percent of workers said that they would keep mum while 26 percent of Middle Eastern employees would do the same.
Don't expect them to speak up on data leaks, either. A staggering number of American (36 percent), European (40 percent) and Middle Eastern (41 percent) workers said that they would not immediately report instances of leaked data.
The results reflect a troubling aspect of the rapidly growing BYOD phenomenon. "The research from both sides of the Atlantic shows that employees and IT departments are gambling with data security, but chance isn’t the only factor," said Ben Gibson, chief marketing officer of Aruba Networks in a statement.
"In short, employees resent the power their employers now wield over their personal data, but are equally unconcerned about keeping company data safe," added Gibson.
Pedro Hernandez is a contributing editor at Datamation and InternetNews.com. Follow him on Twitter @ecoINSITE.