Large companies more prone to staff internet misuse

More than half of large companies say their staff misuse the internet at work, according to new government research.

The 2006 Information Security Breaches Survey, carried out by PricewaterhouseCoopers for the Department of Trade and Industry, found that 52% of large companies said employees abused internet services and 43% said staff misused their e-mail.

The survey of 1,000 people found that 41% of the worst incidents involved staff accessing inappropriate websites and a further 36% of worst incidents related to excessive web surfing.

The most serious involved access to illegal material; several companies reported staff accessing child pornography.

The figures showed that workers at large companies were much more likely to take liberties with company internet and e-mail services.

Chris Potter, the partner from PricewaterhouseCoopers who led the survey, said that companies should be wary of the damage misuse of e-mail could do to the company brand.

“An increasing number of companies are using e-mail to communicate with customers and business partners,” he said.

“Given how important reputation is to businesses, it is surprising that the majority do not scan outgoing e-mail for inappropriate content.”

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