One in three employees would continue to use a personal device for work purposes, despite 83 per cent admitting that it could pose a security risk to their company.

Research by Sourcefire and Dynamic Markets found that 69 per cent of UK employees who use a computer at work use their own personal devices for work-related purposes. The most commonly used personal devices were laptops (48 per cent) and home PCs (44 per cent). Smartphones are used by 16 per cent, 32 per cent use their own USB sticks and 17 per cent use their own CD-ROMs.

It also found that 71 per cent of people surveyed move data on and off the corporate network via these devices, and almost all carry out activities that could put company data at risk.

In a roundtable discussion Dominic Storey, technical director EMEA at Sourcefire, said: “There will always be insider threat because that is human nature and that is the whole usernomics thing.”

Jonathan Armstrong, lawyer at Duane Morris LLP, said: “The other thing is has human nature changed? From a legal point of view I wonder if it has though, the less respect amongst employees for intellectual property is that because we are now starting to employ the Napster generation who have shared music and done file-sharing, and haven't gone in and paid for vinyl in a shop.

“You can over do the generation X/Y, but there is less loyalty and people will change jobs and that is part of these statistics. ‘If they don't let me use the device I want I will move to somewhere where they do'.”

Peter Wood, fellow of the British Computer Society, said: “There is not a lot of trust or respect in either direction a lot of the time, and I am not blaming either party but it does create the ‘we must control the end-user mindset because the end-user is not loyal'.”

Storey said: “These (smartphones) are personal choices and people view them as an extension of themselves and there is a feeling that if it is taken away you will not like it. Perhaps a solution is that if it belongs to the person they will look after it.”

Last week a survey by Unisys found that of 987 end-users and 204 CIOs and IT directors across Western Europe, 95 per cent said that they had used at least one consumer device that they have purchased themselves for work purposes. In the UK, 38 per cent of ‘i-workers' use smartphones for work, although only 14 per cent of the employers surveyed believed this to be the case.

Commenting Colin Woodland, VP EMEA at IronKey, said that it was a culture aspect of keeping up with the Jones's. He said: “It is a gadget thing and companies need to protect themselves. It is about communications and policy, saying you cannot take things home but you can check email from home. People want to use social networking sites, so how do you protect them so that they are still productive but still secure?”