The warning comes from research by data recovery specialists Kroll Ontrack which showed that 38 per cent of UK employees had downloaded personal files onto devices they also used for work, while 29 per cent had installed personal apps or programs on devices primarily used for work.
The research also showed that five per cent had used peer-to-peer file sharing services such as BitTorrent and Gnutella on work devices, four per cent cancelled antivirus scans, and five per cent temporarily disabled firewalls or antivirus software on devices used for business.
The research also highlighted to risk to data security this lax approach poses, with 32 per cent of devices that were used in both personal and work environments suffering from data becoming irretrievably corrupted in the last 12 months.
“As the line between work and personal life continues to blur, employees will increasingly conduct personal activities on a device they also work from,” said Paul Le Messurier, programme and operations manager at Kroll Ontrack. “This will raise a number of issues for organisations, from data security through to productivity uncertainties. As such, businesses must look to protect their assets, both digital and physical.
“Employers must educate employees on what activities are acceptable; develop a simple but thorough IT usage policy; and ensure backups are in place and up to date for when disaster does strike.”