Data security is a hot-button issue, and companies are rushing to find security solutions to minimize risk of an attack or breach. But while equipping offices and computers with security software is a key aspect of a strong security policy, human error is the much larger liability. In this post, we’ll go over three areas to focus on in your company in order to ensure your communications are secure.
Provide training and build understanding
Most companies have a data security policy, and if you don’t, it’s well past time to put one in place. Data security, like other policies, is usually introduced to new employees during onboarding, but with the volume of information new hires need to process, it’s easy to get lost in the mix. Therefore, it’s important to make data security training an ongoing, continuous process, not only for new employees, but also for veteran workers and upper management. Combine in-person training with online training modules so that the information is accessible to all, and make check-ins part of the company’s routine.
However, even armed with knowledge about data security best practices, it’s hard to enforce a data security policy if the employees just don’t care. Security breaches can seem like a bogeyman, and it’s easy to dismiss them as things that happen to other people, but the risk is real. Dozens of big-name companies reported security breaches in 2017 alone. Real-world instances of data breaches like the Equifax hack make the risks more tangible, so discussing these situations with company employees will help to bolster compliance.
Equip employees with data security solutions
Once employees understand the how and why of data security, they need to have the tools to ensure that their communications are secure. Any device that is used to access company data, be it company-provided or an employee’s personal device, should be protected with data security solutions like anti-malware and privacy filters. In addition, expectations for securing communications should be explained and enforced. Help employees set up two-factor authentication on work emails, messaging applications, and project management software. Ensure end-to-end encryption is easy for even the least technically-inclined to use on any sensitive information sent over email to prevent security breaches in transit.
Create a culture of data security
Besides computers and phones, there are many forms of communication that people don’t think about when discussing communication security, and it’s these forms that are the hardest to secure. If two employees are grabbing lunch at the bistro down the street and are overheard discussing confidential client information, that’s a potential security breach. If sensitive documents are left on the printer tray while someone finishes something else in the other room, that’s a potential security breach. No amount of software can combat this - it’s all down to company culture.
Employees should be encouraged to prioritize data security in every aspect of their work life. This includes being mindful of exactly what information they’re disclosing when talking about their jobs in their personal lives, policing their own and others’ communication around the office, and staying informed about data security in the news. While fostering a culture of data security may be the most difficult to achieve, it’s also the most vital in minimizing risk.
Getting employees on board with securing communications is critical to preventing a security breach. With targeted efforts to implement company-wide training, give employees the tools they need, and make security a priority in the company culture, your employees will be just as able as your security software to defend your company’s data.