Speed and security are two of the most necessary elements in business, regardless of the industry. A company must be ready to beat the competition to new opportunities while keeping private information—from proprietary trade secrets to customer information—secure at all times.
These two elements often conflict. Maintaining security can involve long, repetitive processes for employees to ensure privacy of information, while speed and productivity necessitate being able to access, use, and file information as quickly as possible.
How can companies keep their information secure at all times but still allow for quick access to data from anywhere employees might be working?
Start with the Basics
Finding the perfect set of checks and balances to ensure the privacy of information while allowing for productivity is difficult—but not impossible. Build security measures up from the basic level. Start by complying with the regulations and laws of the industry, then consider any specific needs. For instance, a business in the healthcare field must adhere to much stricter standards than a small retail outlet.
Just as security needs vary depending on the field, so do the threats. Implementing measures to fend off the world’s best hackers probably is not necessary for most businesses, but you should take steps to keep your customers’ financial information and any mission critical company data secure.
Balancing Speed and Security
More than 40 percent of IT professionals dislike the current security measures in place at their companies. Their dissatisfaction is not because of the strength of the security—rather, they are unhappy because the security protocols slow down the companies’ computer systems and workplace productivity. And that observation comes from IT departments comprised of individuals who presumably understand the importance of security. Other employees may feel the effects of reduced productivity due to security protocols without understanding the value of security measures.
How can smart organizations balance the need for speed and security?
First, speak to your IT department to discuss means to simplify or streamline processes while maintaining security. Software that automatically stores passwords may be one solution. Encrypted hard drives might also help enhance security, as can computers and mobile devices that require a fingerprint to unlock the system.
Educate employees on measures that don’t take any time but can enhance your organization’s security. This discussion may include tips for implementing strong passwords. Warn employees to never write passwords down where others may find them, and not to log in to an unsecured, public network. You may consider providing secure, mobile hotspot devices to make it easier for employees to resist the temptation to use the Wi-Fi at the local coffeehouse.
Aim for Simplification to Leverage Speed
Just as workers on remote networks sometimes pose a security risk, bring your own device (BYOD) policies can create security issues and leave company information vulnerable to theft. But it’s hard to argue with the convenience and enhanced productivity BYOD policies offer.
To help secure BYOD equipment, make the enrollment process for new devices as simple as possible. If a company has a difficult process for securing new devices, employees are less likely to comply with it and, instead, leave their devices unsecured. Simplifying the onboarding process for employee devices assists with improving both security and productivity.
Make the process easier by:
• Allowing IT to onboard new devices from remote locations.
• Implementing an employee self-service portal where users can reset their own passwords, locate lost devices via GPS, and wipe the hard drives of their devices, among other things.
Teach the Necessities and Communicate Ideas
More than half of employees—and some entire businesses—choose to sacrifice security for speed when it comes to mobile devices. This can allow workers to attain high levels of productivity, but it leaves the organization vulnerable to information leaks or cyber-attacks. CIOs and managers at all levels must make employees aware of the importance of the company’s security measures.
Managers—especially CIOs—need to listen to employee concerns about security. If a security measure is causing problems for employees, fixing or removing that process can go a long way toward improving productivity and morale.
Maintaining security while attaining speed, or vice versa, is a difficult but essential process. Businesses need to protect themselves and their private information, but also maintain employee productivity and be quick to adapt to change, whether this means deploying new technology or sharing ideas. Choosing security measures wisely, simplifying processes, and educating employees can all help organizations achieve the balance between productivity and security.