It’s no secret that the remote, “work-from-anywhere” strategies have been adopted into today’s organizational climate. Have you ever stopped to think how your remote workers could be putting your company’s data in harm’s way? Increased remote access means that each of your employees holds a key to the castle with little to no support or oversight. Even on-site employees can unintentionally put valuable data at risk. The fact of the matter is that it only takes one negligent employee to bring your entire organization to its knees, even by accident. This why it is imperative that every organization, no matter the size, adopt a data-protection culture.
At its core, a data-protection culture encompasses an organization’s ideas, customs and social behaviors toward security and provides a shared understanding of the ways data can and should be used to support broader strategic objectives. Establishing a culture that promotes, and perhaps rewards, data security helps your company mitigate the risk of data exposure without impacting employee productivity, regardless of where they work.
Businesses need to secure their data in the remote workplace
One qualm about remote work is the increased cybersecurity risks across multiple personal or public networks and different devices. This may explain why 54% of IT professionals believe remote workers pose a greater security risk than traditional workers, or that working from home can increase the frequency of cyberattacks by 238%? Why? Because more than 90% of cyberattacks infiltrate an organization via email. And email volumes have increased by 44% as the number of remote employees grew. And this problem will only get worse as email use continues to become the norm, rather than the exception, for business communications. In fact, the Radicati Group predicts the total number of business and consumer emails sent and received per day will grow to over 376 billion by the end of 2025.
In an effort to address this concern, many companies have started to provide email-specific security training. The drawback to this approach is that it requires employee buy-in. Each employee must not only understand the importance of strong cybersecurity, but actively participate in protecting the organization from threats as well. Training alone is not enough. Positive change requires organizational support and a culture that reinforces new behaviors.
Like any other company value, data protection should be considered with each and every task or decision. When security is an inherent part of a company’s culture, each member of the business accepts personal responsibility for their actions and recognizes they’ll be held accountable if they choose not to comply.
How to build and support a strong data security culture
We know what you’re thinking—this all sounds a lot easier said than done. To help get started, here are four steps for building an effective data-security culture that are regularly suggested by cybersecurity experts:
- Assess Your Level of Risk. Conduct a risk assessment to understand your current state, identify gaps and prioritize areas to address. Use this assessment to identify how many security incidents are related to employee behavior and uncover what training topics are the most critical and what policies and procedures need to be developed. It’s important you assess where your company’s security standards currently stand. Ask yourself the following questions:
- Are employees actively engaged in the security process?
- How do you ensure they’re up to date on the latest best practices?
- Do you alert the organization when there’s a threat or attempted breach?
Once you answer these questions, you can educate your employees on your company’s cybersecurity process and their role in keeping the organization safe. For example, refresh your team on best practices for passwords or discuss the process of reporting suspicious activity. 2
- Create and Implement a Plan. Once you have your assessments and data, it is time to start developing a plan to close gaps and mitigate any security concerns. If you’re not sure how create a plan, reach out to industry contacts to see what they are doing, leverage your associations and connect with experts in the field. Remember to include technology solutions that will help reinforce your culture of data security.
- Make Data Security an Executive Priority. Lead by example. Participate in security awareness training and employ the policies and procedures your organization puts in place.
- Bring Employees Along. Learning is a process and can take some time. It is vital that organizations work to proactively educate their team on the importance of data security. Reward employees who exhibit the desired behaviors.
Invest in a data security solution you can trust
The reality is that there is no way to mitigate human error. That said, there are ways to reduce your data’s risk of exposure. Awareness, training and culture, when combined with the right technology, will empower employees play an active role in data security. Make it easy for them. Minimize the risk created by email and file sharing with simple-to-use technology, such as the EB Control SaaS application. Whether employees are onsite or working remotely, EB Control provides a simple, easy to use, way to protect your organization’s data. Click here to learn how EB Control can strengthen your company’s data-protection culture.