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Huge gap in workforce privacy, 63% of organisations want employee privacy, only 34% achieve it

By Ryan Morris-Reade
Thu 24 Jun 2021

DTEX Systems has released a new report highlighting a significant gap in workforce privacy, with 63% of IT professionals saying it’s important to protect employee privacy but only 34% of organisations effectively doing so.

Cyber intelligence company, DTEX Systems, has released its State of Workforce Privacy & Risk Report, which finds a significant workforce privacy gap. The 2021 report was conducted by the Ponemon Institute with sponsorship from DTEX. 

The researchers surveyed a global pool of 1,249 IT and IT security professionals on their organisations’ approach to securing sensitive information and reducing workforce risks. 

According to the findings, 63% of respondents say it’s important or very important to protect employees’ privacy in the workforce, but only 34% of organisations are effective or very effective in doing so.

The research shows many organisations find it hard to balance workforce privacy with growing views around the need to monitor employee engagement, given the shift to remote work. 

According to the report, 64% of respondents find it difficult to track employee activity and performance without affecting employee morale or trust in the organisation. At the same time, 53% of companies believe their employees expect their personal behaviours and activities will remain private, but less than half (47%) anonymise the employee data they collect while monitoring for security risk and operational performance.

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

“The workforce is a source of incredible intelligence, yet organisations 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.”

DTEX Systems says in order to manage risk without impacting employee trust, organisations should be mindful of collecting data anonymously and minimise the amount of data being collected. In the report, 65% of respondents say collecting more data than necessary can overtax endpoints and the network, which can negatively affect employee productivity.

“Our findings illustrate that organisations need a new path to workforce privacy, one that embraces the long-standing privacy-by-design approach both in philosophy and in the technology chosen to harvest workforce intelligence,” says Ponemon Institute research director and president, Larry Ponemon. 

“This is supported by the fact that only 38% of respondents say their organisations have the right technologies to mitigate risks and promote efficiency without invading personal privacy. With the other 62% of organisations missing the mark, it’s critical employers shift their mindset about why and how they learn from their workforce.”

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