Data. We love it. And we also know just how important it is to keep it safe. These days we’re plugged in anywhere and all the time. Sometimes, we may not even realize how plugged in we actually are while our apps, web searches, and credit card purchases are constantly storing our actions in the background.

Jennifer Lawrence

With the recent hacking of 100+ female celebrity iCloud accounts, and major breaches to hit huge companies like Target, Home Depot and Jimmy Johns, we’re starting to think more and more about how it is that we actually keep our personal, and professional, information safe. And, more importantly, who’s responsible for keeping that data safe.

In light of these recent privacy violations, we wanted to know more about how people store their data, and how they feel about their security habits in (and outside) of the workplace. So we surveyed nearly 500 people using SurveyMonkey Audience to get to the bottom of this—in a totally honest, non-hacky sorta way!

Here’s what we found out:

The insecurity in workplace security

Just over half of our respondents say they use cloud services to store their work documents. It seems younger generations (18-29 year olds) are the most likely to use this easy-to-access technology for work purposes, as they make up 72% of our cloud-using respondents.

Screen Shot 2014-10-24 at 12.04.20 PM

And we learned that most users feel Google Drive and Dropbox are the most secure cloud services. They’re also far less likely to use services like the recently controversial iCloud. Their mistrust of iCloud, or perhaps their lack of awareness, could be exactly why the majority of our respondents find storing documents in the cloud to be only moderately secure. A mere 6% of employees use the cloud less than once per month to store work documents, yet 20% use it to store information daily.

But here’s the kicker. We found that while most believe security at the workplace to be vital, they don’t necessarily want to be responsible for it:

  • Most employees feel the employer and cloud service provider are responsible for the security of work files
  • A small percentage of employers have guidelines in place as to where employees can store their work-related documents
  • The majority of employees feel that their employer should have restrictions in place on which cloud service they can use—with the oldest set of respondents (45-60+) feeling the most strongly, and the youngest generation being the least concerned
  • Yet 70% of employees do not use a 2-step verification process for their cloud services

So while we can all agree that security is important at the workplace, and there are steps we can take as employees to help ensure this security, we are less likely to do so unless under executive order. Interestingly enough, when it comes to protecting the privacy of one’s personal data, things don’t shift all that much.

Mind over personal privacy

The days of lugging around large, clunky cameras are behind us. So while some may still enjoy this method, most of us are taking and storing pictures directly with and on our mobile devices. In fact, 88% of those surveyed are taking and storing pictures via mobile. No surprise there.

But what may come as a shock is how many people are not all that concerned about the security of their mobile devices despite the large number of recent privacy breaches. Also, unlike workplace security, it seems as though no matter the age group, respondents are treating the security of their mobile devices the same.

  • 82% of those polled said they were familiar with the targeted leak of personal celebrity photos on Apple’s iCloud
  • Yet 90% of those people said the leak had no effect on how they store their photos on their mobile device
  • For those who did make changes as a result of the leak, most removed their photos from the iCloud entirely
  • When asked if knowing that a password could help protect their mobile device from being hacked, respondents were fairly down the middle as to if this would make them more likely to add a password or not

Screen Shot 2014-10-24 at 12.02.31 PM

Additionally, the majority of respondents did feel that Apple was to blame for the leak of the photos. However, it was released that the leak was a result of hacking into a user’s password, as opposed to the cloud itself. Again, this is interesting since earlier we mentioned that a small number of respondents (12%) felt iCloud was the most secure cloud service to store documents.

According to our results, we found that when it comes to taking responsibility for protecting our privacy, we’re far more likely to look to others as opposed to taking the steps to protect, and educate, ourselves. And in our busy lives, these sorts of technologies have left us wondering how we could have ever lived without them. One thing we know for sure is that these conveniences will continue to grow, and we will continue to use them. Will these “trusty” technologies be able to combat the vulnerability that goes hand-in-hand with them? Only time will tell.

How do you take steps to protect your data privacy? Do you agree or disagree with the respondents in our study? Share your thoughts with us in the Comments below.