Survey: Personal Information Vulnerable without Encryption

WinMagic Study Sheds Light on Consumer Bad Habits That Might Be Brought to Work

RSA CONFERENCE USA 2014—SAN FRANCISCO—February 25, 2014 Consumers are not securing the data on their personal laptops or desktops correctly, if at all, according to the results of a Harris Poll survey commissioned by WinMagic, Inc., the global innovator in data security, in January 2014 among 2,047 U.S. adults ages 18 and older. Click to tweet: If this data is lost or stolen, it could damage a company’s reputation and cause financial harm for those involved.

WinMagic offers an eBook to IT managers concerned about consumer bad habits revealed by the survey results. The eBook provides best practices to secure enterprise data and train workers, and it can be downloaded by visiting:  

A mere 14 percent of those who own a laptop or desktop computer encrypt their personal machines, and more than four out of ten (44 percent) are not prompted to enter a password when booting up their computers. A majority of those who own a laptop, desktop computer or mobile device say their personal emails (62 percent), personal pictures and videos (54 percent) would be at risk if their personal laptop, desktop or mobile device were lost or stolen. Nearly four out of ten (38 percent) would lose their banking information.

“If I am an IT manager or C-level executive, I have to assume the workers at my company do not understand how to secure company data, based on my read of the results of this survey,” said Mark Hickman, COO at WinMagic. “The concept of encryption—the only failsafe way to secure information at rest—is all but completely foreign to consumers, even though almost forty percent of them keep data as sensitive as banking information on their personal laptops or desktops.”

Other conclusions WinMagic experts draw from the results:

  • Work product at risk: Employers should note that according to the survey, 15 percent of those who own a laptop, desktop computer or mobile device say work-related content would be at risk if their laptop, desktop computer or mobile device were stolen or lost, and only 14 percent of those who own a laptop or desktop computer encrypt their machines. According to WinMagic experts, work data lost on any computer—whether company-owned or not—puts a company at risk for compliance violations, the need for breach disclosure, and other legally mandated actions such as costly fines.
  • A/V means A-OK to many: 71 percent of those who own a laptop or desktop computer keep firewall and/or anti-virus software up to date on their machines. According to the team at WinMagic, this protection represents the bare minimum, and the survey result might indicate a widespread fallacy that anti-virus software is enough to secure machines.
  • Well-advertised password best practices not followed: Under a third (31 percent) of those who own a laptop or desktop computer say they “regularly change” their passwords on their personal laptop or desktop computer. Given how many times consumers are reminded to change their passwords, such a low percentage is alarming, according to WinMagic experts.

Survey Methodology

This survey was conducted online within the United States by Harris Poll on behalf of WinMagic from January 17-21, 2014 among 2,047 adults ages 18 and older, of whom 2,009 own a laptop/desktop computer. This online survey is not based on a probability sample and therefore no estimate of theoretical sampling error can be calculated. For complete survey methodology, including weighting variables, please contact Nina Korfias at 781-684-0770 or Darren Leroux at +1 905-502-7000 x245 or

About WinMagic Inc.

Since 1997, WinMagic has made it easy to secure data by offering leading encryption and key management solutions. WinMagic is trusted by the largest healthcare, finance, education, retail, manufacturing and government organizations worldwide. They deploy WinMagic solutions to minimize business risks, meet privacy/regulatory compliance requirements and to protect valuable information.

WinMagic’s core offering, SecureDoc, ensures the security of data at rest by managing how it’s encrypted. SecureDoc makes the lives of IT and security administrators easier by securing data no matter where it resides and across any operating system. WinMagic’s unique pre-boot functionality, PBConnex, delivers significant cost and time savings to IT pros, while making the solution more secure than the competition. SecureDoc ensures data security even as IT environments change, including transitions to BYOD (bring your own device) and cloud computing.

With a full complement of professional and customer services, WinMagic supports over 5 million SecureDoc users in more than 80 countries.

For more information, please visit, call 1-888-879-5879 or e-mail us at

WinMagic, SecureDoc, SecureDoc Enterprise Server, PBConnex, Compartmental SecureDoc, SecureDoc PDA, SecureDoc Personal Edition, SecureDoc RME, SecureDoc Removable Media Encryption, SecureDoc Media Viewer, SecureDoc Express, SecureDoc for Mac and SecureDoc Central Database are trademarks and registered trademarks of WinMagic Inc., registered in the US and other countries. All other registered and unregistered trademarks herein are the sole property of their respective owners. © 2013 WinMagic Inc. All rights reserved.

Press Contacts:

Nina Korfias

Darren Leroux
Sr. Director, Product Marketing
WinMagic Inc.
+1 (905) 502-7000 x245