GFI Software Research Finds 87 Percent of Small Business Employees Are in Fear of Identity Theft in the Workplace

January 07, 2014 - 12:00

Independent blind study of SMB employees reveals resounding confidence in job security, but concerns over stark concerns over employee safety online

The American smaller business workplace has transformed into a mobile-enabled, agile, and satisfying environment with above-average levels of perceived job security and business confidence, but one where the workforce is acutely aware and worried about the threat to their personal online information, an independent study funded by GFI® Software has revealed.

The State of the Small Business Employee Report, a blind survey conducted by noted independent U.S. research organization GfK Group, polled 1,119 respondents who work in organizations with between two and 99 employees on all aspects of working in small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs), from job satisfaction and views on management to the state of small business IT provision and use of social media.

Small Business Employees Weigh In on Management, Income and Benefits
The study found that a healthy 81% of SMB employees surveyed are satisfied with their job overall, compared with a U.S. national business survey (Rutgers University Heidrich Center for Workforce Development study of January 2013), which found only 68% of all full-time U.S. employees are satisfied with their jobs. Moreover, the research found that SMB employees are far less fearful of being laid off than those in larger organizations. Only 11% said that being laid off was very or fairly likely within the next 12 months, compared to 18% of American adults in companies of all sizes in an April 2013 Gallup poll.

The study also revealed SMB employees’ perspectives on the organization they work for, including how they would grade their management team. More than half give their management an A (22%) or B (38%), with 27% saying C and 10% giving them a D. Only 3% flunked their management team. The average grade equates to a B-minus.

Other organizational findings include:

·        Just over half (52%) of smaller business employees surveyed were satisfied with their overall annual income, slightly above the national employee average of 50%

·        A further 47% state they are happy with the health and medical coverage provided by their employer, again slightly higher than the national average of 46%

Identity Theft Key Concern for Small Business Employees
The survey also revealed significant concerns about the impact online working has on their personal safety and information security. Nearly six in 10 respondents (59%) said if they could snap their fingers and remove all of their personal information from the Internet they would, citing concerns over identity theft as a primary motive. Overall, 87% of those surveyed admitted they felt at risk of becoming the victim of identity theft or another crime while using work computer systems and devices, which includes 6% who see “a great deal” of risk and 37% who perceive “some” risk.

“The strength of SMB employee happiness levels is great news for the U.S. economy, which needs a thriving and productive small business sector to provide the backbone for economic and employment growth,” said Sergio Galindo, head of global product management at GFI Software. “However, our research has confirmed that smaller organizations are not as successful as their large competitors at proactively providing the reassurances and tools necessary to ensure employees feel safeguarded from all the electronic threats that a modern, Internet-centric workplace poses. There is still a lot of work to be done, and these survey results should serve as a wakeup call to the industry.”

Mobile Computing Found to Be Both a Blessing and a Curse
GFI’s study also revealed that, despite many smaller organizations aggressively adopting the technologies, tools and working practices of their larger rivals, 75% of those surveyed believe mobile computing has improved their work/life balance and helped their organization’s workforce become more agile, as opposed to 25% who said it has made life more stressful because it extends the length of the working day and removes the divide between work and personal time.

Additional findings from the report include:

·        Nearly all respondents with employer-owned mobile computing devices said they use them for things not related to work; 22% said they do so often, 38% sometimes and 30% rarely

·        37% of small business employees surveyed said they use Facebook at least daily

·        A further 7% admitted they have at some point lost a mobile computing device that contained company data

·        Only 36% of respondents said their employer’s computers are set up to block them from visiting certain websites

The full report and a document with the full survey questionnaire and responses can be found at Also available by request is the complete survey dataset (SPSS format) and detailed methodology disclosure statement from GfK Group.

About GFI
GFI Software™ develops quality IT solutions for small to mid-sized businesses with generally up to 1,000 users. GFI® offers two main technology solutions: GFI MAX™, which enables managed service providers (MSPs) to deliver superior services to their customers; and GFI Cloud™, which empowers companies with their own internal IT teams to manage and maintain their networks via the cloud. Serving an expanding customer base of more than 200,000 companies, GFI’s product line also includes collaboration, network security, anti-spam, patch management, faxing, mail archiving and web monitoring. GFI is a channel-focused company with thousands of partners throughout the world. The company has received numerous awards and industry accolades, and is a longtime Microsoft® Gold ISV Partner.