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How Employee Attitude and Behavior Influence Security in the Hybrid Workplace

Data shows nearly half of U.S. employees create their own tricks and shortcuts for managing log-ins, making businesses vulnerable to cyberattacks

Dashlane released “The Future of Security in the Hybrid Workplace”report, commissioned in partnership with Datalands, which looks at patterns and trends of employee workplace security habits in order to help companies future proof businesses, whether employees are back in the office or still working remotely. The new report sheds light on the realities of employee attitudes toward workplace security and their implications so companies can stay proactive and ensure adoption of improved security policies and programs.

To assess these employee attitudes and behaviors—and their potential impact on organizations’ cybersecurity, Dashlane surveyed 1,000 U.S. employees about their feelings toward technology, internet use, and online habits, in order to help businesses understand the realities of the future of workplace security. The report discovered four types of employee personas, and the potential barriers these employees may cause to security culture, including:

  • The Desensitized: Typically the largest group, these employees live mostly online, but don’t think hard about technology. While they are extremely forgetful, they also get easily frustrated when trying to get things done online. Reusing passwords or using weak passwords may feel like the best way for Desensitized employees to deal with these frustrations.
    • The Solution: To get this cohort to adopt good cybersecurity habits, give them a shortcut. Provide tools like a password manager that simplify how they work and collaborate with co-workers without adding more frustration.
  • The Out of Touch: Not online as much and thus a lower level of tech savvy, with a higher preference for doing things in person. Out-of-touch employees don’t frequently share online logins with anyone, however, they are more likely to write down passwords and least likely to lock their devices with a code.
    • The Solution: To encourage change with these employees, start with a basic employee education program and seamless onboarding experience, then use security tools that have a very small learning curve with a user-friendly onboarding experience. Videos, short guides, and tips are essential for this category.
  • On Top of It: Intentional and proactive about improving and elevating their personal and professional lives. As this group prefers to do everything online and strives for efficiency wherever possible, they’ll frequently use less secure methods like reusing passwords for multiple accounts or storing them in a browser.
    • The Solution: It won’t be easy to change this group’s habits if you’re asking them to take an extra step. Consider providing employees with easy-to-use cybersecurity tools like a password manager to minimize the hassle for them, with zero impact on their productivity and speed. Look for features like secure sharing, strong password generation, and a seamless UX.
  • Above it All: Earliest adopters of a digital life and proud of their ability to manage technical challenges, these employees are likely to be the least overwhelmed by keeping track of online accounts, and the least likely to have experienced fraud or a personal data leak.
    • The Solution: Consider cybersecurity tools that offer personal benefits or separate work and business spaces they can toggle between as they maintain fluid boundaries between work and home life.

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“No matter where the new ‘office’ is for your employees, it’s clear that futureproofing your workplace security now calls for new tactics, and organizations are reprioritizing their cybersecurity budgets,” said JD Sherman, CEO of Dashlane. “We’re dedicated to helping businesses and consumers be proactive about eliminating their online security risks and provide them with tools to make that happen without upending their lives.”

“This data reflects the current world of humans at work and what we learned is, ironically employees are aware of their online habits, whether good or bad,” said Gavin Potenza, Co-Founder & Creative Director at Datalands. “We chose to bring surprising design elements and pops of color into the report so the powerful impact of these numbers and anecdotes are no longer overlooked.”

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The remote or hybrid environment doesn’t just mean trading the watercooler for Slack and huddling on Zoom instead of the meeting room. It creates new risks for businesses including phishing attacks and unsecure security practices. Additional key findings from the report look at employee sentiments about remote work and online habits—at work and personally—and the security challenges they face, including:

  • 49% of employees create their own tricks and shortcuts for managing logins
  • 74% of CFOs plan to shift some employees to remote work permanently
  • 63% said they’re proud of their ability to remember things, while 69% retrieve or reset their account passwords at least monthly
  • 35% feel overwhelmed by keeping track of all their account information and logins
  • 500% increase of remote workers post-COVID forecasted

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