Survey reveals attitudes to e-mail monitoring

Pro

6 November 2006

A survey conducted in the financial districts of London and New York suggests that Wall Street workers are more aware of compliance breaches and monitored electronic communication than their City colleagues, but are also more likely to try to dodge communication controls.

A total of 300 people working in Wall Street and the City were surveyed by Orchestria, a company that makes software to enforce employees to use network resources in accordance with company policy and international regulations.

 

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The research discovered that more than 60% of respondents in New York thought that it was right that their employer should monitor their e-mail. By contrast, only 38% in London supported their firm’s right to monitor e-mail.

Employees in Wall Street are under the heaviest scrutiny. Almost three quarters of respondents thought their e-mail was already monitored, compared to 62% of City workers.

Only 28% of employees outside finance in New York believe their e-mail is monitored.

However, New Yorkers are more likely to try to dodge e-mail monitoring. Sixty per cent admitted that they had sent something that they ‘didn’t want their employer to know about’ using web mail.

This compared to 42% of London respondents. Or maybe City workers are better liars when it comes to market surveys.

More than seven out of 10 Wall Street workers admitted they had received an e-mail that broke corporate or regulatory policies, compared to just 36% of City employees.

Outside finance, the two cities are much closer on this question with 52% of New Yorkers and 57% of Londoners admitting to receiving e-mails that broke corporate policy.

“Regulating electronic communication is not just a problem for the heavily regulated sectors such as banking, finance and insurance,” said Zeus Kerravala, senior vice president of enterprise research at analyst firm Yankee Group.

“We are seeing a shift in the market as companies outside the heavily regulated sectors realise the problems presented by the accessibility of communication tools such as e-mail, and the possibilities this presents in terms of inappropriate employee behaviour, loss of intellectual property and damage to corporate reputation.”

 

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