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Shred-it Study Exposes Negligent Information Security Habits of Los Angeles Workforce

  (July 11, 2018)

LA employees found to jeopardize employer's information security by way of remote work, unmanned computers and vulnerable paper trails.

LOS ANGELES, July 11, 2018 /PRNewswire/ - Nearly one in three Los Angeles employees (31 percent) admit they have lost work materials or had them stolen, according to a new report by Shred-it that highlights how employee negligence poses a major security risk for LA businesses. Polling employees on their information security habits and behaviors, the data highlights how the LA workforce may be exposing critical information and creating data security risks.

Shred-it (CNW Group/Shred-it)

Assessing the cause of data breaches, the report found that 79 percent of LA workers believe employee negligence contributes to the data breaches that occur in the United States. Supporting that notion is Shred-it's 2018 Security Tracker Study, released last month, that found nearly half of C-Suite Executives (C-Suites) (47 percent) and Small Business Owners (SBOs) (42 percent) reported that human error or accidental loss by an employee was the cause of a data breach.

"The Los Angeles report offers a transparent view into the information security gaps currently affecting one of the largest cities in the United States," said Chris Ramirez, Director of Compliance Solutions, Shred-it.  "As with the State of the Industry Report findings, employee negligence continues to be a top-contributing factor of data breaches, and it shows that our businesses here in LA are not immune to the pitfalls of a workforce that, at times, can unknowingly create risk."

Adding to the complexities of preventing a data breach is the increase in remote workers. With more than half of LA employees (53 percent) admitting to working remotely or outside of the office, compared to just 44 percent of Americans overall, now is the time for businesses in LA to assess the information security gaps within their organization.

While a remote workforce presents unique challenges when it comes to preventing a data breach from occurring, LA businesses could improve their efforts to train and educate employees on proper security protocols. In fact, nearly two in five (38 percent) of the LA workforce says their employer has never conducted information security training, including not sharing how employees should dispose or store of confidential documents in the office or security protocols for company-issued devices like laptops, mobile phones and USB drives.

Additional findings from the report expose elevated risk areas and activities LA businesses should consider examining, including:

Improper disposal methods of paper documents lead to vulnerable paper trails:

  • Three in four Los Angeles workers (73 percent) take notes at work in a paper notebook.
  • More than half of Los Angeles workers (52 percent) admit they leave documents or notebooks on their desk after they leave work for the day, leaving documents with confidential information vulnerable to loss or theft.
  • Nearly one in three (32 percent) Los Angeles employees rarely or never shred confidential documents at work when they're no longer needed. Nationally, this is relative as 30 percent of American workers rarely or never shred confidential documents at work.

Lack of information security protocols is plaguing Los Angeles businesses:

  • Nearly one in four (23 percent) Los Angeles workers admit their employer does not have information security protocols in place, such as storing or disposing of confidential documents a certain way and following security rules on company devices.
  • This contradicts recent data in Shred-it's 2018 Security Tracker Study, which found that 80 percent of C-Suites say they have a security plan in place, and another 96 percent say they specifically have a policy in place for storing and disposing confidential paper documents.

Los Angeles employees trust that their employers are protecting employee information and customer data, but they also believe their employer is vulnerable to a data breach:

  • Nearly three in four Los Angeles workers (72 percent) believes their employer prioritizes the protection of employee and customer data.
  • However, nearly half of Los Angeles workers (46 percent) believe the business they work for is vulnerable to a data or information security breach.

Data protection and information security is important to Los Angeles employees and, plays a role in deciding on a place of employment:

  • Three in four Los Angeles workers (77 percent) admit that data protection and information security is important to them when deciding on a place of employment.
  • Comparatively, 81 percent of U.S. workers overall say that data protection is important when deciding their place of employment.

About Shred-it

Shred-it is a world-leading information security company providing information destruction services that ensure the security and integrity of our clients' private information. Shred-it, a Stericycle solution, operates in 170 markets throughout 18 countries worldwide, servicing more than 400,000 global, national and local businesses. For more information, please visit

Survey Methodology

Pollfish conducted a quantitative direct to mobile user survey of 1,200 Los Angeles respondents age 18+ who are employed or self-employed. The survey was conducted in June 2018 and was designed to assess the information security habits and behaviors of Los Angeles employees, feedback on information security practices of Los Angeles employers and consumer concerns around industry information security practices.

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SOURCE Shred-it

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