A survey carried out this month by Gurucul, a security and fraud analytics technology provider, among 476 IT workers found that a quarter of people spend more than 2 hours a day surfing the web at work, equating to 10 hours a week and a mind-blowing 40 hours a month. In total, that means a quarter of all workers are wasting 3 months a year on non-work related surfing and, when you take the average UK salary of £29,000 per annum (according to the Office of National Statistics), that’s £7,250 a year that employers are unknowingly paying their staff to shop online and look at social media.
Social media is the biggest distraction in the workplace for most people with 32% admitting this is what they spent the most time on, followed by 24% of people enjoying online shopping, 19% searching for their annual vacations, 13% watching their favourite sports sites and 12% being cheeky enough to search for a new job whilst sitting at their desks.
Out of all the industries Gurucul surveyed, it was those in Retail who appeared to have the most time on their hands, with 32% admitting to spending over 2 hours a day on the Internet for non-work related activities, which was twice as much time as their counterparts in the healthcare sector, with just 16%.
It was also interesting to note that the bigger the company, the easier it was to secretly surf the net and go under the radar at work – 30% of people in companies employing more than 10,000 people admitting to surfing for long periods of the day.
“What these figures do is show is that in some industries, such as retail, almost half of people are somehow finding the time in their working day to surf the Internet for at least an hour or more,” said Craig Cooper, COO from Gurucul. “Even in the most pressurised sectors such as healthcare, it shows a sizeable minority who are somehow getting time to surf for personal activities. Experience shows that increased surfing will lead to more cyber-attacks, such as phishing scams, resulting in instances of insider threat behaviour. We suggest employers use machine learning to monitor their employees’ behaviour. This type of monitoring works well to compare current behaviour of all users to baselined “normal” behaviour. By doing so, organisations can identify anomalous trends and spot outliers to remediate threats. In essence, most instances of internet surfing at work are harmless, but at the levels this survey shows, employers are quite naïve when it comes to knowing the ‘ins and outs’ of the daily happenings of their employees.”