UK businesses are losing critical data, such as customer orders and financial data, because office workers are too scared or too embarrassed to report data loss

A Veritas study said this was because of  ‘damage’ that workplace ‘blame cultures’ are having on the success of cloud adoption.

 “Businesses need to help, not blame, employees when data is lost or encrypted by hackers as a result of employee action,” said

Simon Jelley, general manager of SaaS protection at Veritas said leaders need to motivate employees to come forward as soon as possible: “There’s often a short window where businesses can act to minimise the impact of deleting or corrupting the cloud-based data office workers use, so IT teams can act fast to take remedial action. It’s clear from this research that shaming and punishment are not ideal ways to do that.”  

The research, which included 2,000 office workers from the UK, revealed that 43 percent of employees have lied to cover up when they accidentally deleted data stored in shared cloud drives.

Despite 40 percent saying aid no one noticed their error, in the cases where the accidents were discovered, 17 percent of respondents said the data was no longer recoverable. 

Employees are even less forthcoming with ransomware incidents. This is malicious software that infects computers and restricts access until a ransom is paid.

Just 29 percent of respondents said they would immediately confess mistakes that introduced ransomware into their organisations. 

Another 36 percent said they would either do nothing or pretend it hadn’t happened, and 26 percent said they would report the incident but not say it was them.

The findings also showed 51 percent of UK-based office workers have accidentally deleted files hosted in the cloud—such as business documents, presentations and spreadsheets. 

As many as 20 percent said they did this multiple times per week.

 Simon Jelley says this is because almost of half of them think data in the cloud is safer from ransomware, which it isn’t. He said it is because people “assume their cloud providers are protecting it from malware that they might accidentally introduce.”

Mr Jelley called for businesses to make it easy for workers to restore lost files to take the pressure off.  He added: “Blaming people doesn’t help—backing up your data however, does.”




This research was conducted and the statistics compiled for Veritas by 3Gem, which interviewed 11,500 office workers in Australia, China, France, Germany, Singapore, South Korea, UAE, UK and US.






Feyaza Khan has been a journalist for more than 20 years in print and broadcast. Her special interests include neurodiversity in the workplace, tech, diversity, trauma and wellbeing.