Working in an IT department can sometimes seem like a thankless job. Think of the last time you reached out to your IT professional. You were probably having issues with your email, or perhaps your computer was running a little slower than usual. Once the problems are resolved we’re all pretty thankful – but have you stopped to consider that your IT department is actually the backbone of your organization? While you may not interact with your IT professional(s) on a daily basis, they are constantly working behind the scenes to ensure that all patches are updated and that you have a resource to contact when something goes awry with your work machine. In many cases they’re your first line of defence in external attacks. If our IT teams are so necessary, why do so many employees work against them?
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A recent article from Forbes stated that seven out of 10 cloud applications being used in offices are not approved by IT departments. The use of these applications are not even limited to within the workplace – 73% of organizations also grant access to cloud-based applications to external consultants and partners. That is a whole lot of potential for a security breach. If you’re communicating or sharing confidential documents in an insecure manner, you’re not only impacting yourself, you’re also jeopardizing your company. Every time an employee records a password in a notebook or logs into an unsecured file sharing channel they’re putting themselves, their organization, and most importantly their clients in danger.
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A lot can be said for educating employees on the finer points of protecting online information. In many cases people are not deliberately trying to be saboteurs. Rather, they are just uneducated. Lunch and learns devoted to password management and approved applications will help employees better understand how to be compliant with security rules. Employees need to be told which applications are recommended for use. Instead of telling someone ‘no, you can’t use that!’, give them options. If people are aware of the choices available to them, they will be less likely to use something they shouldn’t.
If possible, get upper level management involved in the process. Executive buy in will help create a top-level change, shaping a corporate culture that embraces security.
The bottom line
Your IT team was developed to not only help you manage computer issues, but to also help protect the security interests of your organization. In many cases your IT team is comprised of the resident online security experts. If you have any questions don’t be afraid to approach them. They’ll more than likely be happy to help, especially since it could be saving them trouble down the road.
Do you work in IT? Do you find yourself educating employees on security? Leave a note in our comments section and let us know.