Survey: Employees Text Using Unsecured Channels

It’s no surprise that consumers are becoming increasingly dependent on mobile devices in the workplace. After all, daily mobile usage among consumers is up to nearly four hours per day on average, and that can’t ALL be for fun, right? But how exactly are consumers using their mobile devices for work? Is text messaging becoming more prevalent? Is corporate security even a concern?

With these questions burning in our minds, we recently conducted a survey to get feedback straight from consumers currently in the workforce. While some of the findings fell in line with our expectations, others surprised us:

72% of consumers text for work purposes

Among this group, the majority of text messages sent are to colleagues, followed by customers, partners, and vendors, and typically relate to general/day-to-day work activities. Seventy-two percent of the respondents also noted that they use their own mobile device for work purposes which demonstrates further growth of BYOD in everyday work environments.

44% of consumers use standard SMS when texting for work

When we combined the 44 percent of consumers who use SMS for work purposes with the 13 percent of respondents who admitted to using consumer messaging apps like WhatsApp, WeChat or Facebook Messenger, we got a total of 57 percent of respondents who are texting about work information, which is sometimes confidential information, through unsecured channels. Alternatively, only six percent said they use messaging apps that were designed specifically for work.

66% of respondents do not think texting is a security risk for their organization

The majority of active employees (63 percent) also stated that security is a concern when choosing the tools they use to communicate. Considering the disconnect between these two findings, it’s safe to say that employees misunderstand security as it relates to mobile messaging tools.

We were also surprised to find that 64 percent of respondents selected email as the most secure communications tool since there have been so many high-profile security breaches to demonstrate otherwise. Take, for example, the recent Sony hack. Not only did this hack make public confidential corporate information, but it also resulted in the release of many embarrassing emails from Sony executives, damaging both the company’s reputation and those involved. With this in mind, it seems that companies need to better educate their employees on technology and corporate security.

Text messaging is the second most used workplace communication tool.

Following email at 70 percent, text messaging was selected as the second most common tool people turn to when sharing work information. Considering that 25 percent of text messages sent include confidential information, it goes to show that consumers opt for convenience when it comes to communicating at work, regardless of security and compliance regulations, and that it’s up to business leaders to make sure that their employees get the best of both worlds.

Thanks to the consumerization of the enterprise, employees are continuing to turn to text messaging as a preferred method of communication. This is not only because text messaging has been proven to increase productivity, but because of its simplicity and integration within their personal lives. As a result, companies need to tighten the reins on security and compliance issues that accompany texting in the workplace – especially in highly regulated industries like healthcare, finance, and government – to ensure that they are protecting the exchange of information between employees, clients, and associates outside of the organization.


Methodology: This survey was conducted through uSamp in January 2015 and polled over 500 U.S. adult Internet users.
Download The 6 Keys to Successful Communication at Work to learn more about the benefits of secure texting.