25th October 2012

The rise of Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) raises significant risks for  employers trying to protect confidential information  Protecting confidential information is a key concern for UK employers especially in relation to the spread of the 'Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) culture in the modern workplace.

A report launched today by DLA Piper, Protecting confidential information: Trends and tactics for today's employer, reveals that 60 % of employers either allow or require employees to use their personal devices for work purposes. This is a trend we expect to see continue in the workplace, given the growing demands of today's tech-savvy workforce and that many businesses are cutting costs - but is something which, inevitably, poses a security risk for UK companies.  Our research identifies that risks arise from four specific areas: data storage capabilities of portable devices, BYOD, ownership of contacts and social media, with 60% of respondents saying that social media concerns them. Surprisingly, 61% of our respondents said that they do not have a social media policy, but 68% of employers do monitor employee usage of social media sites. Social media is now a well-established issue for employers in regard to protecting confidential information and another key finding of our researched revealed that 24%, or nearly a quarter, of employers request their employees' social media log-in details.  Our research also reveals that the information employers are keen to protect is: pricing structures (55% ); human resource information (50%); budgets and financial information (40%); almost half, at 46%, said customer and supplier details; and 43% said they would be most concerned to lose business plans. This demonstrates the differing priorities of employers, which will be reflective of the industry sector in which they operate.  Alan Chalmers, head of Employment at DLA Piper Sheffield, said: "every business has information that it considers both integral and invaluable to its success, and a competitive edge in the marketplace may rely on a business having, or developing, certain information above and beyond that of its competitors. It is one of the most valuable and powerful assets in any organisation and as such, appropriate protection measures need to be in place.  "The research shows that employers are very aware that the loss or disclosure of confidential information is damaging to business. However, achieving effective protection in the current economic climate is challenging, particularly in light of the growth of new technology, the use of social media and commercial globalisation. "Our findings suggest that many existing contracts of employment and staff policies fall far short of achieving effective protection to mitigate the risks. However, UK employers simply cannot afford to be complacent; now is the time to equip businesses with the tools they needs to protect their secrets and limit their exposure to legal risks."

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