Firms need to make security not only required, but also attractive to employees

Sep 18th, 2013 / Category: Managed File Transfer

Data breaches are among the most damaging incidents that can befall organizations in any industry. When a data breach occurs, the affected firm inevitably faces wide-ranging fallout, and the effects can be devastating. It is not uncommon for a business in these conditions to be slapped with fines, lose intellectual property (thereby undercutting its ability to compete) and experience a severe hit to its reputation, which in turn can drive away potential and existing customers.

With all of this in mind, it is obviously in every business's best interest to develop strategies that minimize the risk of a data breach ever occurring. The question is how best to achieve this goal.

This is a complex issue, one which inevitably requires comprehensive approaches. However, there is one major mistake which countless organizations continue to make, and which can significantly undermine the value and dependability of their data protection initiatives. This mistake is focusing on making security mandatory, but not making it attractive to employees. For any secure file transfer or other data protection tool to prove useful, it must be both required and appealing.

Employee behavior
The problem with an exclusive focus on data security without any consideration of employees' preferences is that workers often prioritize convenience over security or company policy.

Say, for example, that businesses' employees need to regularly share corporate data in order to collaborate on complex projects. This is undoubtedly a common issue, as organizations in every industry are constantly becoming more data-driven at every level, as well as more disparate. It is not irregular for a half dozen employees in just as many different cities to work closely together on a given project. To this end, they must send and receive a wide variety of files on a near-constant basis.

To minimize the risk of a data breach occurring as a result of this collective work, the company's decision-makers may mandate that employees use a secure file transfer solution for all data distribution.

On the surface, this may seem sufficient. Employees will now feel obligated to use a trustworthy means of sharing data, thereby protecting the company's information without impeding employees' collaborative efforts.

However, this will only be the case if the mandated solution is not only reliable, but also easy to use. This is because of the simple fact that employees will not be willing to dedicate significant amounts of time and effort toward the goal of ensuring data security when they have faster, easier-to-use options available. If the mandated, secure options are a burden, workers will quickly grow irritated and impatient with them, and will eventually switch back to less secure means once they feel that their bosses are not monitoring their behavior. And if their superiors are hovering over their shoulders, then this will prove a major drain on those higher-ranking personnel's productivity.

Appeal matters
Companies can avoid this problem entirely by choosing a secure file transfer solution that is not only dependable, but also appealing to workers in terms of ease of use. It should be simple, fast and readily accessible. There must not be much, if any, discernible disadvantage for employees using this solution as opposed to free, unsecured options.

By mandating the use of a secure file transfer tool that employees would have no reason to object to, anyway, business leaders are able to maximize collaboration, as well as worker satisfaction, without increasing the risk of a data breach.