With many of our working environments changing drastically in the past year, it's easy to fall prey to old habits when trying to continue business in a new environment. Change can happen quickly, and some organizations may revert to old ways of doing things. These backward shifts in business practices create hidden risks. The joint workforce of people and technology continues to grow at an exponential rate. Don't get left in the dust. Here are five strategies to kick old habits to the curb in 2021!
1. Think Before You Print
Industries working remotely and dealing with sensitive information may have limited access to office tools like printers, scanners, and shredders. A document printed on a home printer may have personal identifying information (PII) on it. Information accessed on personal devices could be easily screenshotted or saved unsafely as a workaround. Identify areas where a routine or preferred business operation may conflict with current security requirements or compliance standards. This is particularly important for a remote workforce where there is less monitoring by IT or management. Develop a standard for what to do with hard copies of company information, and define what should and should not be printed or scanned using personal, non-company devices.
2. Who, What Where?
People don't know what they don't know. As the digital footprint grows, data sprawl becomes a challenge. Organizations may use multiple platforms to save documents in the cloud. This could result in documents being saved incorrectly, buried in subfolders, or saved on personal devices out of convenience or frustration. Organizations must establish a digital filing system that lays out what should be saved, where, and who has access to it. Define what is active and how to archive dated or unnecessary information. Simplify data sprawl by keeping documents in a centralized system, and use integrations between systems (if possible) to remove conflicts and overlap. Make knowledge management part of your organization's onboarding process, so new employees can acclimate to your process immediately.
3. Always Move Forward
Bottlenecks in systems can force people to do things the old-fashioned way. As systems change and the organization brings new technology into their operations, transition staff from one system to another through short training sessions, so they can achieve mastery in stages. Assign enthusiastic adapters and leaders to mentor those who need a little more time to learn and experiment. Watch for instances where a disconnect within a process forces people to revert to previous or unsecured operating procedures. Check if admin settings create blocks that might force an employee to save a document outside your internal, approved system.
4. Click Carefully
In 2020, 306.4 billion emails were sent and received each day. Email became an important asset as the pandemic forced many organizations to work remote or conduct business digitally. Bad actors exploited this opportunity with increasingly sophisticated phishing emails. Many organizations are one errant click away from a severe cybersecurity breach. Make careful email practices part of your routine operations. Ensure your staff knows how to identify suspicious emails and click with caution. Hackers have even been able to imitate internal emails based on keywords and content. Be sure to have a clear and simple method of reporting suspicious emails, so everyone is empowered to respond quickly to threats.
5. Lock it Up
It's easy to walk away from a device and leave it idling unattended. This is especially true for remote workers who may share devices with people in their household who may not use them the same as an employee does. Get into the habit of always hibernating or password protecting devices when not in use, even if you're stepping away for a few minutes. Two-factor authentication, such as using a phone number, email, or touch ID confirmation, adds an extra layer of security to your devices. Encourage and model device best practices in your organization to protect systems and data.