May 19, 2015

Workplace Technology: Keep Productivity Up & Data Breach Risk Down

Here’s an interesting statistic: 1/3 of employees use mobile devices exclusively to do their job, according to the Security in the New Mobile Ecosystem study published last August. Over the next year, that’s expected to rise to 47%.

There’s no question that mobile technology increases workplace productivity. Smart phones, laptops and other devices allow employees to work anywhere, at anytime.

But these devices increase the risk of a data breach too. In the 2014 State of Endpoint Risk, 75% of respondents said mobile devices represent the greatest risk of potential IT security risk within the IT environment.

How can a workplace embrace technology to increase productivity – and protect confidential information?

Don’t be afraid of it. Employees need mobile devices to be efficient and productive, wrote an industry expert. Also, when Intel looked at work habits of employees who were upgraded to wireless notebook PCs, it found a productivity increase of 100 hours per year.

Stay up-to-date. Dated equipment can affect productivity and costs. An Imprivata-sponsored study by Ponemon showed that in healthcare, using pagers can waste an average of more than 45 minutes of a clinician’s time each day. 65% of survey respondents said secure text messaging could cut discharge time by 50 minutes. But texting is not always allowed.

Use a CYOD policy. A Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) policy allows employees to use their own smart phones and other devices for work. For better security control, a Choose Your Own Device (CYOD) policy is recommended. It would allow employees to choose devices from a list of approved choices, and companies could equip devices with the appropriate security.

Control the apps. Apps can improve both the efficiency and speed of specific work tasks. But CheckPoint Software Technologies research showed that 66% of employees have downloaded apps without company approval. Organizations are encouraged to provide employees with practical enterprise-grade mobile apps for work.

Digitize. Many workplaces are digitizing information and processes to save time and money. But all confidential information still has to be properly disposed of when no longer needed. Partner with an information destruction company for secure paper shredding services, and ask about e-media and (outdated) hardware destruction too. Proper destruction guarantees that data cannot be recovered.

Consider cloud computing. While cloud benefits include cost savings, elasticity, and storage on demand, almost half of respondents (44%) in the 2014 State of Endpoint Risk study said cloud security is a major concern. There are tools that can help. A 2014 SafeNet study showed that private data network connectivity as well as encryption and other cryptographic tools are available to protect data in the cloud.

Train employees. Laptop theft is common – and 56% of lost or stolen devices are linked to a data breach, according to a Shred-it infographic. While all devices should have password protection, encryption software, and remote wipe capabilities, employees should be taught best practices too. For example, never leave a laptop unattended, and only use secure IPs or networks to log into corporate networks. Information security protocols such as a shred-all policy should be implemented outside of the office too.

For other technology threats and solutions, download our whitepaper: How to Improve Information Security Without Compromising Employee Productivity.