Feb 28th, 2013
No business wants to be unsecured. A lack of security can have profound, negative consequences for an organization, making it difficult or even impossible for the firm to achieve its greater goals. Businesses that suffer data breaches often experience major damage to their reputations, as most consumers do not want to patronize companies that have had trouble protecting data. People are generally becoming much more conscious of the dangers of identity theft and fraud, and are becoming more careful when it comes to protecting their own sensitive data. A firm that has experienced a data breach may seem unlikely to protect people's own information. On top of that, businesses may be subjected to expensive fines if they are found to have been derelict in their protection of customer data.
The consequences of failing to adequately protect corporate and client data are obvious. The real question is how companies can go about correctly securing the information.
There are undoubtedly countless strategies that should be considered in this regard. One of the most important, overarching notions, and one which is often neglected by business leaders, is the danger of silence. Silence, when it comes to corporate data security, can be deadly.
Perhaps the biggest threat to any company's data security is employee behavior. Companies can invest in the most powerful, secure data protection tools on the market, yet still suffer data breaches thanks to workers' behavior.
Now, this doesn't mean that companies should therefore avoid investing in robust data protection tools. On the contrary, secure file sharing programs and other resources are absolutely critical for ensuring the safety of corporate data. This is especially true considering the fact that employees must increasingly send and receive data both internally and externally to perform their job functions.
Furthermore, it is critical that companies select the right tools by carefully considering the needs of the organization as a whole as well as how various employees will need to interact with the solutions once they are deployed.
It is also necessary for company leaders to take an active role in promoting data security throughout the organization. This is where many firms come up short, and why so many businesses' employees engage in risky data sharing behavior. When an employee is responsible for a data breach, the cause is typically not that he or she was intentionally trying to sabotage the company or steal information. Instead, the explanation is usually that the employee was either unaware of data security best practices or did not realize how critical these practices were.
These incidents could be greatly reduced if managers, executives and other leaders regularly engaged with employees about both the seriousness of data protection and how to achieve it. This should include discussions at meetings, memos and policy guidebooks.
Unfortunately, many firms either pursue secure file transfer and other solutions but fail to ensure organization-wide integration or mention data security so infrequently that most employees do not consider it a priority. Only by regularly speaking out and taking a lead on this issue can leaders ensure their companies' data remains as safe as possible.