Employees are undoubtedly important to make sure company data and customer information are protected at all times. However, staff members are often behind exposure of such content, with many incidents occurring inadvertently. On the other hand, some personnel may simply not follow certain guidelines, which can be dangerous for their employers.
A recent Fortinet survey found that the number Generation Y employees - those between the ages of 21 and 32 - willing to not follow corporate policies regarding the use of devices, cloud computing and new technologies increased 42 percent from a previous study. Companies that find themselves supporting Gen Y personnel should make sure that all workers understand the severity of going against certain guidelines because such actions can result in data loss or exposure.
John Maddison, marketing vice president at Fortinet, said the survey results reveal clear issues pertaining to bring your own device (BYOD), cloud computing and smart technologies, such as watches. This puts an even greater emphasis on where corporate data is located and how workers are accessing it, he added.
"It's worrying to see policy contravention so high and so sharply on the rise, as well as the high instances of Generation Y users being victims of cybercrime," Maddison said. "On the positive side, however, 88 percent of the respondents accept that they have an obligation to understand the security risks posed by using their own devices. Educating employees on the threat landscape and its possible impact is another key aspect for ensuring an organization's IT security."
Rogue employees a big problem
An Avecto survey of more than 500 IT security professionals found that 41 percent cited rogue employees as the biggest threat to their companies. Ensuring that workers follow guidelines may prove difficult for some businesses because more than 30 percent of respondents said their organizations lack formal policies to manage administrator access.
Mark Austin, co-founder and CEO at Avecto, explained that the current risk landscape is complex, with many breaches happening because employees download unauthorized software. He encouraged firms to limit privileges to certain applications and not users themselves to address potential vulnerabilities.
Avecto also found that 31 percent of IT security professionals cited malware and targeted cyberattacks as other areas of concern regarding corporate protection.
In many cases, employees like to use options that are simple rather than a firm's systems that may be more complicated. Personnel who use consumer-grade file sharing tools to send, receive or store information are putting the entire company at risk because these solutions lack the necessary safeguards needed in a corporate environment.
Companies that want employees to keep sensitive data safe should consider the benefits of secure file sharing tools, which are not only easy to use, but protect content whether it is in transit or at rest. These options can prevent a catastrophic breach that may expose client information and result in hefty compliance fines.