How To Drive Productivity Without Compromising Cybersecurity

Author

Daniel Newman

January 27, 2017

Cybersecurity is one of the fastest-growing industries, and it’s easy to see why when you recognize the current value of information. IT security spending eclipsed $75 billion in 2015, and that market is expected to more than double by 2020. That is an extraordinary amount of money to spend on cybersecurity, but I believe it’s money well spent. Data is one of the most valuable commodities in the modern business world, so it’s no wonder companies are investing significant money to safeguard their valuable data.

Security…at a Cost

Keeping businesses secure is a top priority for CIOs, but it often comes at a price—employee productivity. When you have computers, tablets, apps, and software programs covered with layers of security, employees get frustrated. In a recent survey, 91 percent of business users said their productivity is negatively impacted by employer security measures, and 92 percent reported that their organization’s remote-access policies also hampered productivity.

Striking a balance between security and productivity is a top priority for modern companies, but it’s absolutely critical to remember one very important thing about this balancing act: You should never sacrifice security for productivity. I wholeheartedly believe that productivity needs to take a backseat to security. Data is simply too valuable, and breaches too crippling, to reverse those priorities.

Choose Your Battles

When it comes to maintaining productivity, you may be tempted to scale back your cybersecurity policies in order to afford employees more breathing room. Fight this temptation. Instead, consult with your organization’s cybersecurity experts and anyone else who has a hand in your company’s data and data security. Brainstorm with these individuals to determine your organization’s most glaring or most easily exploitable weaknesses and prioritize them. Your biggest threats need to be secured first. Only then can you work your way down the chain to the small fry.

One of the best tools at your disposal when it comes to assessing your cybersecurity needs is your ability to determine the likelihood of a threat. Most C-suite executives report that insider threats are their biggest area of concern, but it’s important to note that many data breaches caused by insider actions aren’t malicious—they are simply done out of error or frustration. If an employee feels restrained by cybersecurity policies and doesn’t recognize the importance of those policies, that employee is likely to disregard them to complete his or her work more efficiently. If a backdoor isn’t readily apparent, they will often find a way to cut corners around the cybersecurity structures that frustrate them and slow down their workflows.

Keep Things Simple

It’s important to ingrain cybersecurity into your company culture, and to do so effectively. Your employees need to understand potential threats and how their actions could compromise the entire organization. If you’re able to keep your cybersecurity processes as simple as possible, this is a win-win. Your employees won’t need to fret over cumbersome IT security protocols, and the organization’s data is more secure. I strongly believe that company culture plays a huge role in any given company’s data security.

Give your IT security department the task of keeping things as simple as possible for employees, device policies, and any shadow IT concerns. As a leader, it’s your job to influence your workforce and explain the reasoning behind changes. Cybersecurity is a top priority for nearly every company in today’s world, so your employees need to recognize this and make good practices part of their daily routines.

Be sure to keep the lines of communication open with your employees. Make it clear that if they have a concern about a cybersecurity policy they should air it. Sometimes employees have a better view of a policy change than management because they see the affected systems more closely. Your employees could uncover previously unaccounted concerns. This is another win-win: You get a more holistic review of your cybersecurity protocols from every level of the organization, and your employees know that their input is welcome and appreciated.

Cybersecurity isn’t going anywhere. The world grows more dependent on data with each passing day, and this trend isn’t going to slow down any time soon. I believe the steps you take today to bolster your organization’s security will reap enormous benefits in the long run.

 

This article was written by Daniel Newman from Forbes and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.

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