Digital security is paramount to sustainable, expanding, secure operations. Unfortunately, it will continuously be compromised by the human element above all else. It doesn’t matter how well you put together your server array, how many backup systems you have on-site or through cloud applications, how much antiviral software is installed on your computers, or how studious your IT people are about maintaining security: your employees are still going to make mistakes. Now, from a management perspective, the mistakes of employees could very well be blamed on hiring procedures which don’t inculcate a proper respect for security measures; but even in such scenarios, you’re going to have security breaches.
Rational noncompliance refers to employees deliberately ignoring security protocols for reasons of convenience. They’ll make up a password that is really simplistic because it’s a pain to remember one with numerous capitals, special characters, and numbers. They’ll write a difficult password down to avoid memorizing it, and so leave their workstation open to corporate espionage. They’ll e-mail themselves passwords, or send information home on a USB drive; not realizing it may act as a carrier for a virus. They’ll open e-mails with suspicious attachments and download ransomware into the system— most of these things are covered in digital security courses given to employees as they’re inducted into a given corporation.
And, while sometimes it is very true that digital education parameters have done an incomplete job training employees, to the tune of nearly 90% being unable to identify privacy/security risks, sometimes that employee ignorance is just par for the course. If you’re working a nine-to-five as a telemarketer for a cellular phone company, your main job is selling phones. Your main job isn’t maintaining security. This is an integral quotient of operations, but it’s not something at the forefront of your conscious mind during regular working hours. Instead, it’s something that sort of hangs out at the back and may lightly inform your daily egress, but is as likely to be ignored. The less specialized employees with network access are, the more security compromises there will be.
Transcending the Human Element
The best way to ensure security and sustainability in operations is by “heading them off at the pass,” as it were. You’ve got to find choke points where viruses are regularly induced into systems and barricade against them. Find the mouse hole and shove some steel wool inside. Popular methods include:
• Antiviral Software Restricting Downloads
• No Employee Access to The Internet
• IT-Sourced Access Privileges
• Proactive Systems Monitoring
It may not be possible to keep employees from downloading certain files or having access to the internet. This is ideal, but the exigencies of business operations may predicate continued access. If, as an example, clients needed to email your company on a regular basis, then your employees would need to remain plugged into the internet. But if employees don’t strictly require internet access for profitability, then it’s wise to curtail it. Or, you could put internet limitations on access privileges like schools do, only allowing certain websites to be accessed without the proper password. On that note, it makes a lot of sense to have IT mete out passwords and grant— or restrict— access on a regular basis. This could be too expensive, depending on the size of your organization; so it would be wise to complete a cost-benefit analysis beforehand. Lastly, one of the most effective ways to curtail a system’s breach is to have systems regularly monitored by your tech department. This way, they can nip certain problems in the bud, should the need arise.
Continuing Technological Development
There’s another reason why it’s sensible for you to maintain your business’s digital security through a professional agency, and that is: innovation. Technology’s development parallels hacker breakthroughs. A great way to stay ahead of them is with tech people who think similarly.
The internet of things has spawned a whole host of new hacking problems, and some of those hacks have no solution except a redesign. Facilitating an upgrade throughout your company too early could leave you wide open. At the end of the day, handling employee error and tech development bugs requires oversight from professional IT people proactively monitoring operations.
About the Author
Jennifer Holmes is President of MIS Solutions and a Georgia native who, after graduating from Georgia Tech, became an accomplished research virologist at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta. In 2000, Jennifer hung up her lab coat to join husband Lliam at <a href=”http://www.mis-solutions.com/”>MIS Solutions</a> as President.
In the past 16 years she has led the MIS Solutions team to become IT support leaders in metro Atlanta. MIS Solutions, Inc. is on a mission to empower small businesses with IT services and teams to grow and support their businesses in Atlanta, Marietta and Alpharetta . Jennifer’s passion is sharing effective business strategies with her clients to deliver the best business solutions for each client’s unique environment and needs.
In 2013, Jennifer’s leadership and marketing skills won her the title of Spokesperson for the nationally acclaimed Technology Marketing Toolkit, an industry group of over 550 top U.S. She is a graduate of the Leadership Gwinnett program and has acted on the boards of the National Association of Women Business Owners’ Atlanta chapter, Gwinnett Great Days of Service, the Buford/North Gwinnett Rotary Club and the Gwinnett Chamber’s Technology Board.