Employees' holiday shopping could cause data breaches

Employees' holiday shopping could cause data breaches

The holiday shopping season brings added distractions for employees during work hours, but a decrease in productivity isn't the only problem online buying and deal searching can cause a company.

According to a recent Fox Business report, small businesses are at greater risk of data breaches and scams as employees increasingly engage in risky internet behavior during the holidays.

Cybercriminals are most active during the holiday shopping season, as consumers are vulnerable to fraudulent emails advertising online deals. Meanwhile, small businesses usually have less advanced security measures, further making online shopping at work a risky development for companies.

"Start by reminding them that they have a significant responsibility to protect the information of employees and customers," said Michael Kaiser, executive director of the National Cyber Security Alliance, as reported by the news source. "That is a shared responsibility with employees. This can put the whole business at risk, and people don't understand that as well as they should."

Kaiser said 77 percent of small businesses do not have internet security policies, which translates into a work atmosphere that enables employees to browse the web and purchase products online, the report said.

According to a recent Ponemon Institute survey, negligence caused 41 percent of all data breaches in 2010, costing companies an average of $196 per exposed record.