Are Your Employees Sabotaging Your Data Security?

Posted by Steven Vigeant on 12/5/13 3:45 PM

When people think about data security, they typically think of outside threats. Computer hackers, virus developers, and malicious minds around the world are legitimate concerns. But the greatest threat to your company's sensitive information may actually be hitting a little closer to home (literally).

Your employees are in a unique position to compromise your data security provisions, not out of spite, but simply because of neglect or misunderstanding. Think of it this way – you can put your sensitive data behind a locked door, but it is only safe as long as someone actually turns the lock and makes sure to keep it locked. Being on the same side of the door as the lock, your employees have a special ability to throw the door open, whether they mean to or not.

If your business has any kind of sensitive informaiton around ideas, discovieries or customers, the first place to investigate is in-house. Even if you have not had a breach, it is important to correct internal security flaws before they affect you. These are the kind of employee behaviors you need to watch out for:

Woman at home on laptop late at nightThe Moonlighter

Thanks to mobile devices, it is easier than ever to take work home with you. You probably have at least one employee who works on projects outside of the office, and you may even encourage it. Unfortunately, when that employee leaves the office, he or she also leaves behind many of the protections you have set up for your IT. When employees take company data home, it immediately becomes more vulnerable.

Working man on tablet and smartphoneThe Multitasker

Cloud storage and file syncing solutions allow your employees to seamlessly transfer data between their professional and personal devices. This can facilitate productivity, but it also puts your data at risk. These personal devices may not have the firewalls, antivirus protections, and password barriers that are considered standard for securing corporate data. Rather than getting more productive, your multitasking employees may be compromising your entire company.

Young boy on laptop in kitchenThe Family Man

Even if your employees are extremely conscientious about data security, they are not always in control of their devices. When people have phones or computers for work, they often treat them as extensions of their personal devices. When a spouse or kids wants to use one of these devices, they pass it along freely. Without knowing it, that outside user could download a virus, change an important control, or compromise a file.

All of these scenarios are hypothetical, but the risks are real. It is easy to underestimate the necessity of data security, but more important than ever to plan for it. You can ensure that your employees are not putting you at risk by establishing policies, installing new technologies, and holding training sessions. To find the assistance you need to truly secure your most important data, read our white paper “The Small Business Guide to IT Outsourcing.”


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Topics: Data Security