Some staff will spend the equivalent of a full working day doing their Christmas shopping online over the next two months, according to a survey of workers in the US and UK.
The survey, conducted by IT governance group the Information Systems Audit and Control Association (ISACA), found that one in five US and one in three UK staff will spend at least eight hours shopping online on work time. Most staff are planning on at least six hours of e-shopping.
"Employees who shop online reduce productivity, especially in late November to mid-December when around two thirds make their purchases," said John Pironti, advisor with ISACA and president of IP Architects.
"They also open the door to social engineering and phishing attacks, malware and information breaches that can cost companies thousands per employee to correct, millions in compromised corporate data, and severe damage to their reputation."
The survey of around 1,000 workers also found that around half of those questioned will do their shopping on a company-provided mobile device.
"The number of portable computers and mobile devices in the workplace is only going to increase," said Mark Lobel, mobile security project leader with ISACA and a principal at PricewaterhouseCoopers.
"Companies need to create a realistic security policy that lets employees stay mobile without compromising the company's intellectual property. The IT mantra should be 'embrace and educate' to balance productivity and security."
A separate ISACA study found that a third of European companies believe they lose £3,000 or more per employee as a result of shopping online during work hours in November and December.
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