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Survey: More Than 75 Percent of Employees Are Using Unsanctioned Group Chat Tools

SpiderOak survey of SMB and enterprise employees finds that IT and leadership are the largest offenders of using unsanctioned group chat tools at work

AUSTIN, Texas–(BUSINESS WIRE)–SpiderOak today announced the results of a survey that reveals that employees are sharing sensitive company information using group chat tools that are not officially sanctioned for use. The results show that of the survey respondents who reported using group chat tools to communicate with coworkers, the majority of respondents (76.8 percent) use unsanctioned tools. Surprisingly, more individuals belonging to IT and leadership groups reported using unsanctioned group chat tools than any other group.

The survey consisted of 600 full-time workers ages 21 and older who live in the United States. Company sizes ranged from 50 employees or fewer to 500 employees or more, with 39.1% of respondents reporting they work for a company with 50 employees or fewer, 33.6% reporting they work for a company with 500 employees or more, and 27.1% reporting they work for a company with 51-500 employees.

Key findings include:

  • Despite companies implementing an authorized group chat tool, many employees are using unsanctioned tools.
    • Nearly half of survey respondents reported that they use group chat tools to communicate with coworkers (47.8 percent).
    • Of this percentage, the majority of respondents always, often, or sometimes use unsanctioned tools to communicate with team members (76.8 percent).
    • Of the population that uses unsanctioned group chat tools despite having an officially sanctioned tool at work, nearly one quarter works in IT, and almost 15 percent work in leadership.
  • Employees use unsanctioned group chat tools because they are easier and/or more fun to use than the authorized group chat tool their employer provides.
    • Respondents indicated that they use unsanctioned tools because they are easier or “more fun” to use (55.7 percent and 27.5 percent, respectively) than the group chat tools their company implements.
    • Skype, iMessage, WhatsApp, Slack, Facebook Workplace, office intranet messaging systems, Microsoft Teams, HipChat, Semaphor, and others are among the group chat tools that respondents reported using to communicate in the workplace.
  • Employees who share sensitive information on unsanctioned group chat tools lack personal experience in security breaches or identity theft.
    • The majority of respondents who use unsanctioned tools reported that they share sensitive company information on these tools, such as planning or strategic information, product-related information and documents, customer information, and financial information (59.2 percent, 52.4 percent, 43.4 percent, and 25.3 percent, respectively).
    • Most of these respondents (76.4 percent) reported that they have not, to their knowledge, had their identity stolen or had an online account compromised.

For the full survey results, visit https://spideroak.com/dist/pdf/WorkChatSurveyReport.pdf.

About SpiderOak

SpiderOak gives you control of your data online. The company’s secure cloud backup solution, SpiderOakONE, and group chat and file sharing tool, Semaphor, are designed to be 100% Zero Knowledge, innovative, reliable, and affordable. For over ten years, SpiderOak has been helping individuals, groups and enterprises protect their most important information with end-to-end encryption. Feel safe again.


INK (for SpiderOak)
Caitlin New, 512-382-8990