More than two-thirds of Britons travelling on business have eavesdropped on someone else's confidential business conversation, and more than a third have caught sight of sensitive documents or information on laptops, according to a survey commissioned by flexible wokplace provider Regus.
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A survey of 1,000 respondents in the US and UK studied the travelling lifestyles of professionals working in public places.
The survey found that more than one in 10 people accessing leaked information had been able to use it for their own business purposes.
The survey found that almost half of travelling British professionals now spend at least half a day per week or more working in a public place, and just fewer than half face the dilemma of needing a private place to make phone calls or work on sensitive data.
British travelling professionals can find it so hard to find a place to work that one in six have resorted to working from toilets, more than half in pubs and almost two-thirds in busy restaurants, the survey found.
Kurt Mroncz, Regus UK sales and marketing director, said, "Many organisations just do not realise the staggering problems that their staff face when out on the road. From a dangerous lack of privacy to difficult and absurd working environments, business travellers are often put in impossible positions as they try to carry out their professional role."
David Porter, head of security and risk at specialist business and technology consultancy Detica, said, "These findings point to a significant vulnerability in British corporate security. The growing tide of professionals expected to work on the hoof without proper support is putting the UK's prized corporate intellectual property, trade secrets and deals at risk.
"I have overheard many sensitive conversations in trains, bars and restaurants - from lawyers discussing confidential client details to salespeople revealing key contacts. People seem to slip into a very casual security mindset when using laptops, PDAs and social networking sites. They naively think other people will not be interested or aware of what they are doing."