Old Technology Habits in a New Business Environment

The line between personal and business technology is blurred more every day, and this means new challenges for every business. It is easy to see the trend in action – many employees use their personally owned smartphones, sites like Facebook, Dropbox, or even web-based mail clients such as Gmail now in a business environment. These services are great, and I’m certainly a user of some myself, but they don’t always fall into compliance when it comes to handling corporate data.

Think about the way you first began using these technologies – was it really for a business purpose? Probably not. You most likely purchased a smartphone as a personal device, and used Gmail as a home email client. So why would you apply your corporate compliance mentality to these devices and services? For many, when the time comes to bring them into a business environment, it is understandably difficult to make the behavioral switch from the discretion used for personal data protection, over to best practices around corporate data protection.

Classic example – you need to send a large internal presentation to a coworker, but corporate email has an attachment size cap. Where do you go first? Maybe Dropbox, Box.com, or YouSendIt? Easy, cloud-based options. For those trying to keep data in control, this is a nightmare. A tip for any IT manager – use a web security proxy to scan data flowing in and out of the network. Our Web Gateway even includes data loss prevention (DLP) dictionaries to identify and stop sensitive data from leaving the network via file sharing sites, webmail clients, and many other online services. If you want to stop access to those applications completely, or just partially – application controls can set policies to do just that.

Now, even with adequate web protection in place on the network, should there really be a difference in your personal discretion towards online information? Not really.

The truth is, all of your information has value to third parties, whether personal or professional in nature.

Take a look at this video which has gained quite a bit of attention lately, showing just how easy it is to find sensitive, personal information about complete strangers:

Nobody wants to be in that situation. Take this as an opportunity to think about how you approach posting information online, whether in a business environment or not. Opportunities to share sensitive information online are readily available at home and at work – often through the same channels.

Make sure you and your business are well equipped to deal with the new era of web sharing. We can help.

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