Balancing Cybersecurity, Compliance, and Productivity
Every enterprise has to balance these three elements at every level of the organization. Entry-level employees, mid-level managers, and executive board members all have to find ways to maintain value-generating productivity while keeping sensitive data secure and preventing catastrophic loss.
Not all enterprises address this issue directly, however. Relatively few enterprise leaders take the time to measure how cybersecurity policy impacts productivity, or calculate the cost of compliance auditing in terms of core team output. The most successful enterprises tend to be those whose leaders see these issues as a deeply related triad.
Whenever cybersecurity or compliance policies change, there is a high probability it will impact core work. Whenever team output changes, the organization’s cybersecurity risk profile also changes. Similarly, compliance has to adapt to changing core workflows or risk losing relevance.
These issues are amplified in today’s modern, distributed enterprise work environments. When some (or all) of your employees are logging in from outside the office, it takes more attention and resources to address cybersecurity, compliance, core output risks.
Cybersecurity Risks In Today’s Enterprise Environment
Multi-million-dollar ransomware attacks have become a regular feature of news headlines. Organized cybercriminal groups are getting away with increasingly bold attacks, crippling supply lines and holding hospitals and local governments hostage.
Although they don’t make headlines as often, data breaches and compliance violations are happening just as frequently. Out-of-date contractor profiles, employee email addresses, and customer data often have insufficient protection against insider threats or negligence.
It’s clear that enterprise-level organizations face greater security threats than ever before. As cyberattacks increase in frequency and severity, leaders in every sector are looking for ways to mitigate their vulnerabilities.
2020 was a record year for cybercriminals. There were more attacks in 2020 than any previous year, and 2021 looks like it will top the all-time record by the year’s end.
We’ve identified some of the more pressing cybersecurity challenges that enterprises face in today’s hyper connected remote and hybrid work-enabled environment:
The Cybersecurity Industry Faces a Severe Talent Shortage
The cybersecurity industry has faced a severe talent shortage for years. The global demand for cybersecurity skills continues to exceed the supply of qualified individuals in the job market, and the gap widens every year.
Alarms began to ring as early as 2014, when there were a million unfilled positions in the global cybersecurity industry. By the end of 2021, experts predict there will be 3.5 million unfilled cybersecurity jobs worldwide.
This problem doesn’t appear to have an easy solution. Enterprise leaders have gotten used to not being able to fill open security positions. Instead, they have to rely on managed service providers (MSPs), who divide their time between multiple clients. This makes it harder for enterprises to leverage and deploy customized, in-house solutions.
This situation encourages the development of highly automated cybersecurity solutions that leverage artificial intelligence and machine learning. However, emerging technologies like these can be difficult to integrate into a complex enterprise environment – there are no one-size-fits-all AI solutions for cybersecurity.
Cybercriminals Have Virtually Unlimited Resources
The cybercrime industry is worth trillions of dollars – and hackers know it. Enterprising cybercriminals have developed increasingly sophisticated platforms for enabling an entire illicit market of cybercrime-related products and services. The result is similar to what is happening with cloud-hosting computing in other, legitimate sectors.
Less than a decade ago, a cybercriminal would need to command extraordinary resources to cripple a large-scale enterprise. Gaining control of a botnet large enough to target a major organization was a serious barrier to entry to the cybercrime world.
That’s no longer the case. Cloud technology has enabled cybercriminals to sell ransomware-as-a-service with practically unlimited scalability. They use the same basic approach that allows cloud technology giants like AWS, Microsoft Azure, and Google to offer unlimited scalability to their clients.
In the process, they’ve created a multi-layered cybercrime economy. Cybercriminals don’t need a great deal of technical expertise to launch highly sophisticated attacks. They can simply order the attack kit online, perform a quick configuration on their own, and let it loose.
Ransoms Are Getting Larger
Ransomware attacks work by encrypting business-critical infrastructure and holding the decryption key ransom. In order to get your data and files back, you must pay the ransom – usually in Bitcoin to an anonymous address – and hope the cybercriminal gives up the key in exchange.
In 2019, the average ransom paid in exchange for a decryption key was $115,123. In 2020, the average sum surged by 171% to $312,493. Every sign suggests that 2021 will see an even bigger increase – some hackers are asking for tens of millions of dollars for decryption keys now.
Enterprise leaders rightly see this as an existential threat. If hackers can arbitrarily raise the ransoms they charge for decryption keys, nothing prevents them from putting an entire enterprise out of business with a single attack.
There doesn’t appear to be anything preventing cybercriminals from raising their ransoms to astronomical rates. An undefended enterprise with no recourse but to pay often will cave in under the pressure – even to the tune of tens of millions of dollars or more.
Security Leaders Don’t Know Which Technologies To Deploy
There is no lack of qualified cybersecurity technologies on the market. Major tech companies have thrown their reputation behind a wide variety of solutions, and small niche players have risen to fill the gaps between them.
However, this means that the average enterprise cybersecurity executive has to choose between hundreds of different technologies all purporting to be “the best enterprise cybersecurity solution” on the market. It’s not uncommon for large companies to have more than 50 different security solutions in their tech stack as a result.
This is one of the main issues that impacts compliance and team output the most. Enterprises can’t afford to skimp on cybersecurity, but they also don’t have a way to unify and integrate their security deployments.
It’s not always possible to tell whether a particular security solution will work as advertised, so enterprise executives deploy as many as possible. Some technologies, like desktop tracking software, are more valuable than others. But without proper integration, over deployment impacts workplace output and complicates regulatory compliance.
Every Position Is a Cybersecurity Position
Many enterprise leaders think of cybersecurity as a technological problem, but that’s not entirely the case. Cybersecurity skills are actually people skills, and every individual person in the organization needs to develop those skills.
Security teams are often understaffed and under-equipped to handle the reality of professional threat actors, negligent employees, and highly interconnected third-party vendors. Yet this is exactly the situation enterprise security leaders need to address.
In today’s remote and hybrid enterprise work environment, every employee has a cybersecurity role to play. Enterprise cybersecurity policies must take compliance and productivity into consideration while also enabling must-have features like desktop tracking software, phishing protection, and ransomware prevention.
Enterprise Compliance Challenges That Impact Security and Productivity
Compliance is not easy to scale. Managing compliance at the enterprise level requires the judicious use of limited resources and a keen eye for the everyday realities of employee output. Employees don’t always follow every compliance rule, and their missteps can lead to significant losses.
For large enterprises, compliance challenges extend beyond employees to cover third-party vendors as well. Managing these relationships while also keeping an eye on remote and hybrid employees takes a great deal of effort, and often enterprises fail to dedicate enough resources to their remote employee monitoring software to meet both needs.
Some of the most critical compliance challenges that enterprises face include specific industry-wide regulations, internal data collection practices, and employee behaviors.
GDPR Compliance Protects Users Against Customer Data Abuse
Any enterprise that collects data on citizens in the European Union needs to comply with the EU’s general data protection regulation (GDPR). This standard is among the most comprehensive in the world, and the penalties for non-compliance are severe.
GDPR issues specific protections to users’ personally identifiable data, and takes an especially broad view of what constitutes personal data. For instance, IP addresses and third-party cookies enjoy the same level of protection as names, addresses, and social security numbers.
But GDPR also leaves room for interpretation. It’s up to the enterprise to provide a “reasonable” level of personal data protection. No definition of “reasonable” is given in the text of the law.
Most enterprises accept that employee PC monitoring software falls specifically under GDPR guidelines. As a result, any staff monitoring tools you use will need to be GDPR-compliant, which impacts both cybersecurity and workforce output.
California’s CCPA Provides Different Regulatory Guidelines
Enterprises that operate in California or handle personal information on California residents have to follow the state’s own unique data privacy law. CCPA guidelines are similar to – but distinct from – Europe’s GDPR rules.
One of the ways that the two regulations differ is in the treatment of user consent. While GDPR stipulates that enterprises must obtain prior consent before handling user data, CCPA goes one step further, requiring businesses to give users the ability to opt out.
These differences may be minor, but they require enterprise IT leaders to create and deploy entirely separate compliance frameworks for different populations.
If you have offices in San Francisco and Berlin, for instance, you will need to maintain CCPA compliance for your San Francisco employees while maintaining GDPR compliance for your Berlin team. If you use software to track employees’ core work, it will need to maintain compliance with both regulations.
Company Culture Keeps Employees Compliant
It’s not just enterprise leaders who have to keep compliance regulations in mind. Employees represent the company when carrying out their tasks, and have to follow the same regulatory guidelines as their managers and supervisors.
It’s critically important for large companies to develop and implement robust compliance programs that meet their employees’ needs. It takes leadership and training to build a cybersecurity-oriented company culture. The company has to recognize how every employee contributes to its security profile on an individual level.
But you can’t measure or track employee compliance without employee web tracking software. Compliant remote staff monitoring software will help you ensure your employees do not violate regulations.
It is Possible for Productivity Cybersecurity and Compliance to Naturally Co-Exist
Every enterprise has a clear motivation to maximize core employee output. However, productivity gains made at the expense of cybersecurity and compliance represent risks no leader should expose their company to.
Today’s cybersecurity and compliance landscape demands enterprise leaders to place renewed emphasis on core output as a value-generating, risk-reducing asset. Remote employee monitoring software can play a vital role keeping employees within established policy guidelines.
Until recently, most enterprise management teams focused solely on measuring employee activity rather than outcome or performance. Employee activity trackers couldn’t provide valuable information about how productive, compliant, or secure employees actually were on a day-to-day basis.
This is changing today. Modern remote employee monitoring software enables enterprise leaders to focus on real, measurable performance metrics while proactively encouraging remote and hybrid employees to follow compliance and security guidelines.
Workpuls is a desktop tracking software that provides enterprise leaders with real-time data on employee performance throughout the organization. It bridges the gaps between cybersecurity risks, regulatory compliance, and productivity optimization, enabling large organizations to maximize employee output while mitigating internal and external threats.