Happy Hours, Free Food, Birthdays..Security?

It’s been a couple of years (thankfully) since I last had to clock in at an office job. Nevertheless, I was not at all surprised by a security firm’s findings that data security is less important than office birthdays and who stole a yogurt out of the shared break room fridge.

Centrify surveyed 400 IT decision makers in the U.S. and UK to find among the most frequent topics of office conversation:

  • Employees leaving or joining company (30% US, 7% UK)
  • Happy hours (24% US, 17% UK)
  • Free food left over from meetings (22% US, 20% UK)
  • Holidays and birthdays (22% US, 18% UK)
  • Kitchen etiquette (18% US, 17% UK)

Plus you know that holidays/birthdays should be higher since the free food is often a birthday cake and happy hours are prompted by staff birthdays!

Birthday cake

Photo credit: Buthaina AlOthman / Foter / CC BY-NC-ND

Centrify goes on to argue that “every effort” should be made to educate users about data threats and security protocols. Yet I don’t envy the guy who chimes in over coffee: “sure there’s free brownies over at accounting, but when’s the last time you changed your Internet password?” Let’s just say he is unlikely to be invited to the next staff birthday shindig.

You can bet this brilliant birthday cubicle decorating idea would be the talk of the water cooler:

Office birthday fun

Photo credit: Ryan Leighty / Foter / CC BY

BTW, another interesting survey finding? Weather-related emergencies were more likely to be talked about at work in the U.S. (25%) than the UK (14%) where one supposes a stiff upper lip helps them get through all that rain without worry. Although I’ve seen the Scots try and survive a few centimeters of snow and it wasn’t pretty!


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