Collaborating with different departments within any organisation can be challenging, especially when it means having to deal with a patchwork of different security tools and processes.
In the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) particularly, businesses are under high pressure to protect their sensitive data. A survey by Kaspersky Security Network found an average 27.3% of users in the region were affected by internet cyber-incidents in the first quarter of 2019, with Saudi Arabia most affected at 35.9%. And according to the 2019 IBM/Ponemon Institute Cost of a Data Breach Report, the average number of breached records per incident in the Middle East was the highest worldwide, at 57% above the global average.
Here are five steps you can take to ensure your team is collaborating effectively and securely.
Evaluate your security protocols and threats
While some organisations may view it as stressful or intrusive, a security self-audit is a great way to start building a security strategy that keeps your data protected.
For starters, you’ll need to define a security “zone” that includes all your networked devices and data. Along with internal items like PCs, laptops, hard drives, WiFi routers and printers, it should also cover external assets, such as employees’ mobile devices, and any sensitive data stored in the cloud.
Next, evaluate the types of security threats your organisation is most likely to face. These can be external threats, such as malware, ransomware and hacking attacks; and internal ones, such as lack of a password policy, or documents abandoned in printer trays. This will provide you with a good overview of your security gaps and their relative severity.
Leverage secure solutions
The highly collaborative nature of the modern workplace offers huge advantages for workplace productivity, but its reliance on smart networked devices also brings a new range of security risks.
Fortunately, many of these devices also come equipped with security options which allow users and administrators to reduce the risks associated with them. For example, Canon offers robust end-point security options across all its multifunction printers and scanners, including encryption, user access controls and data erasure. In addition, document management software allows administrators to track movement of both paper and electronic documents, and monitor unauthorised document activity.
Encourage best practices for internal and external data sharing
Even the most advanced technology can only get you so far if employees aren’t fully engaged in the process. Make sure everyone in the organisation does their part to protect sensitive and confidential data – before, during and after it is shared. Some of the best ways include:
For documentation that is stored and shared digitally, it’s vital that it is secured using passwords, encryption and firewalls. This is especially important if it’s stored on removable devices that can be easily misplaced.
Build a secure workplace culture
The Ponemon Institute found that almost half (49%) of all data breaches were inadvertent, resulting from system glitches and human error. This underlines the importance of not just providing employees with the right technical security training, but also ensuring everyone understands the consequences of failing to protect sensitive and confidential data, which, at the business level, can include damage to reputation and financial loss.
Requiring that employees use long, complex passwords, or banning personal devices from the office, are unlikely to be good for workplace morale and won’t necessarily keep your data protected.
Make sure you select systems that offer both ease of use and high visibility into data-sharing activities. A document cloud, for example, keeps all your data stored in a single place while ensuring that everyone follows the same rules governing data access and sharing. By keeping workplace collaboration as frictionless as possible, you’ll have a better chance of keeping your data safe regardless of the size of your team.