Data security should be a top priority for every business. Having good security means identifying risks. Surprisingly, some of the biggest data risks come from within. If employees aren't following your organization's data management policies, then they're your biggest threats.
Technically, every employee carries with them some level of risk. Mary Shacklett, president of Transworld Data told Processor magazine that she has identified two groups in particular that are the worst offenders at disregarding data security policies: C-Level executives and younger workers known as the Millennial generation.
C-Level Executives can't See the Value of Proper Data Management
According to Shacklett, "C-level execs want to use their laptops to do things that aren't work-related." This security risk isn't because executives don't care about the data security of their company. On the contrary, executives care about security the most because they're so invested in their company's success.
Herein lies the problem. Executives are so invested in their company that it's difficult for them to separate their personal lives from their work lives. Therefore, they'll often use the same laptop, filled with company secrets of the highest clearance level, to do personal tasks, like online shopping and personal email. In many cases, a personal laptop doesn't have the same level of protection and security oversights as a workstation plugged into the company network, making personal laptops easier to hack (or steal). The best way for an executive to prevent a data breach is to follow the data management policies just like everyone else, and to do their very best to keep their digital work life separated from their personal life.
Kids these Days
Mary continues with her analysis of data management challenges and tells Processor Magazine that:
The younger workforce who regularly share personal details on Facebook and other social platforms, complicate how business data is monitored and secured... It's hard to enforce security practices when you've got a whole generation who don't understand why these practices should be necessary.
It's very difficult to change a habit. For Millennials, social media platforms are much more than a tool used to keep in touch with family. For the younger generation, social media is used for everything, including file sharing. If your business isn't explicit in its social media usage and file-sharing policy, and if your IT management team isn't active in the enforcement of your organization's policies, then anybody (young or old) that's used to doing everything on social media will continue to do so, putting your sensitive data at risk.
Why Social Media Can be Dangerous for Work
Social Media is a double-edged sword. There are lots of benefits when it comes to engaging prospects and marketing, but there are two serious problems with using a third-party software for the sharing company files. The first is data security. An employee's personal social media account is directly connected with hundreds, or even thousands of people. A few of these "friends" may be bad apples that have been given a high level of permission (permissions you have no control over) to view your employee's personal details, which may easily translate to leaked company files.
The second concern is regarding workflow. An employee working on a company project and communicating details about it via social media will make the project difficult, or maybe impossible to track. Going back and finding information about what went wrong with the project or who said what, will be a nightmare and intrusive if you need to extract facts from an employee's personal social media account.
What's a Multi-Generational Company to Do?
It's all well and good to have data management policies in place to protect your company's data from falling into the wrong hands, but without having the tools to enforce these policies, your efforts can be derailed by an employee that doesn't know any better. SMART Services offers your business several solutions that will protect your data. With our Unified Threat Management solution, you can set the parameters on what websites can and can't be visited, as well as have an enterprise-level firewall for your entire network. We can also monitor your network with our managed IT services in order to catch and prevent data breaches.
The very best thing you can do is to educate everybody on your staff, executives, Millennials, and everyone in between, on the best security practices for accessing and sharing company files. SMART Services can help with this too. Give us a call at 586 258-0650 to learn more!