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New Research Uncovers the State of Security in the Workplace

  |  Dashlane
Building secured with lock

Dashlane recently conducted a survey with Harris Poll that explored what U.S. employees think about online security and password management. Over 1,200 workers responded, and one thing became very clear: many passwords are weak and reused.

Rampant password reuse on the rise

30% of survey respondents said they reuse business account passwords, while 22% reported that they recycle personal passwords for business accounts. In fact, 59% of U.S. workers said they are more concerned about safeguarding personal accounts than business ones.

This might be because employees assume that IT and security departments protect corporate passwords and data, but not personal credentials. More than two-thirds (70%) of respondents believe it is their company’s responsibility to make sure their work accounts aren’t hacked or breached.

About half (47%) of employees between the ages of 35 and 44 cited elevated concerns about personal accounts over business applications, a sentiment expressed by only 26% of the youngest workers.

The role employees play in securing their workplace

Though employees may be more concerned with personal accounts, many still recognize that they play an integral role in a successful security program. In our survey, 79% of respondents said they take some personal responsibility for the company’s overall security.

Older employees, in general, are more likely to understand their roles and responsibilities for improving business security. 84% of workers between the ages of 55 and 64 realize that they play an essential role in data security, compared with 71% of respondents between the ages of 18 and 34.

Defense against security attacks with good online hygiene

To help safeguard valuable company data, good security habits are essential. Almost two-thirds (65%) of workers between the ages of 18 and 34 believe that good online security hygiene can significantly improve their company’s overall security.

Some of the security practices workers should employ include strong passwords, two-factor authentication, and awareness of targeted threats like phishing.

Unprotected passwords are a problem

For many businesses, password management represents one of the weakest links in their security. Yet only 25% of respondents said they use an automated password management solution to keep track of their work passwords.

Instead, employees are more likely to rely on their own memory to manage passwords—in fact, almost half (46%) of survey respondents said they use this ineffective method. This helps explain why employees recycle the same passwords over and over again across multiple work accounts: It’s easier to remember only one password.

But memory has its limitations. When it fails, employees have no choice but to halt work and reset forgotten passwords. That happens more frequently than you might think: About one in five (18%) respondents said they have had to reset their work passwords an average of five or more times over the past six months. And 20% say they request a password reset every time they forget their credentials.

Despite these shortcomings in management of credentials, only 25% of respondents said they use a password manager to keep track of their business account passwords. Password managers generate strong, secure passwords with a password generator that can be synchronized across multiple devices, whether desktop or mobile.

Using a password manager in your business

Among employees, password managers free people from having to remember (or write down) dozens of passwords. They also enable co-workers to securely share passwords while lessening the likelihood of a data breach.

For IT admins, a password manager can help diminish the volume of password-related help desk calls. That can free IT and security teams to work on more strategic initiatives—and save on operational costs.

About the survey

This survey was conducted online within the United States by The Harris Poll on behalf of Dashlane from October 14-16, 2020 among 2,070 U.S. adults ages 18 and older (1,226 employed). This online survey is not based on a probability sample and therefore no estimate of theoretical sampling error can be calculated.

To learn more about how password managers can protect your business credentials and data, read our e-book “How to Safeguard Sensitive Data for Businesses.”

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