Study reveals bad IT habits in SMEs

Bad IT habits are rife in offices up and down the country, with some posing serious security threats, research finds.

The poll of 500 employees in small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) across the UK reveals that workers are guilty of committing some of the most infamous IT ‘no-nos’, from regularly eating at computers (29 per cent), spilling food and drink in their keyboards, and using a personal email address instead of their company account (20 per cent).

The findings from Altodigital also reveal a further 20 per cent of employees are committing the ultimate storage faux pas, saving documents to their desktop rather than a secure server.

Some 9 per cent of SMEs do not safeguard their IT systems from threats with virus software and security passwords, with more than one in ten neglecting to protect confidential files (12 per cent), which has the potential to lead to major security breaches.

Similarly, 16 per cent of employees admit to regularly printing in colour instead of black and white, a costly habit for small business owners.

The study highlights other bad habits including using a personal Dropbox account instead of a server, emailing without a signature and turning off computers without shutting them down properly.

Those working in finance are the worst offenders, according to the study, with 88 per cent confessing to frequently committing one or more IT bad habits.

Tony Burnett, group sales director at Altodigital says that any IT professional will know about the IT bad habits they encounter in organisations on a daily basis.

‘Even though employees often know what they’re doing is bad practice, many think taking shortcuts will save them time and make their jobs easier.

‘However, these habits all have the potential to impact on an organisation; from the security risks from not using virus software and passwords to the way the organisation is perceived by its customer – using a personal email address for instance, will not project a professional image,’ he adds. ‘We would recommend that businesses look to address these bad habits with a view to avoiding unnecessary issues and costs which they have the potential to cause.’

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Ben Lobel

Ben Lobel

Ben Lobel was the editor of from 2010 to 2018. He specialises in writing for start-up and scale-up companies in the areas of finance, marketing and HR.

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