Mobile Workers Putting Business Privacy at Risk

The increasing need to remain connected and productive via portable devices and laptops means that workers can easily find somewhere to quickly catch up on tasks. But each time they do so, they can be putting their sensitive business information at risk of prying eyes and ears.

According to the findings of the latest Regus survey which canvassed over 22,000 respondents in over 100 countries, workers globally are putting business privacy at risk when out of the office. The most perilous locations are cafés (59%).

Although cafés are often used as a handy time-out point to catch up on tasks while on-the-go, this is where the privacy of documents and conversations is most at risk, followed by hotel bars and lounges (50%) and on flights (46%). Campus-style canteens also offer little privacy (29%).

The daily commute can also be risky with public transport, such as trains (42%), posing a threat to the privacy of sensitive work information. Most disheartening is that business travellers say that confidential information is at risk on flights (46%), where neighbouring passengers and anyone sitting behind them can easily read into their open laptop.

In Greater China, the top three locations where confidential business information is most at risk vary significantly. In Hong Kong, they are cafes (69%), hotel bars and lounges (54%) and airline business lounges (46%); in China, they are cafes (64%), flights (53%) and trains (47%); in Taiwan, they are cafes (69%), campus-style work facility canteens (56%) and the underground railway (48%).

The study also found that mobile conversations are the most easily captured (69%), followed by printed documents that can easily be read by people peering over one’s shoulders (62%).

Open laptops (59%) are easy prey for snoopers, while approximately 23% of respondents were concerned about others craning their necks to read information displayed on smartphone screens.

“Privacy remains a huge concern for workers travelling to work on their daily commute, but also for those taking a pit-stop at a café between meetings, or catching up on email in the hotel lounge,” said John Henderson, Chief Financial Officer, Regus Asia-Pacific.