NPC News
Data Protection Programs Must Balance Technology and User Awareness

November 19th 2013

Combating the increasingly complex cybercriminal has always been a challenge, especially as organizations adopt new solutions that promise to optimize performance and reduce costs. While these technologies can introduce numerous benefits, many decision-makers forget to read the fine print and do not consider how leveraging those tools may impact their current and future data protection strategy.

Yet the evolving threat landscape has introduced new questions, namely: Are risk management programs more effective when reinforced with strong policies or technologies? This discussion was highlighted in a Wired report, which noted that enhancing long-term security programs will require a balance between the two sides of the spectrum.

Wired stated that the business world's best defense against cyber attacks is the educated employee. While there is a broad range of sophisticated and comprehensive data security tools on the market, the only way to effectively guarantee that those solutions work is to ensure individuals are aware of the technologies being deployed and best practices to use those services.

A misinformed or unaware workforce can introduce numerous dangers for organizations around the world. This should encourage decision-makers to launch new policies that will ensure that employees can be a firm's biggest asset, not its weakest link.

Education is key to security

A CSO Online report suggested that companies build a data security training program that is supported by upper management and knocks down traditional barriers between various departments. This holistic, collaborative approach will allow individuals to acquire more insight into where potential vulnerabilities can emerge and how actions taken by one team can impact another.

CSO Online also noted that decision-makers must establish some way to measure whether the workforce learns anything through information protection education programs. These metrics can include everything from evaluating user behavior and attitudes, as well as recognizing which employees neglect to follow best practices in the wake of the training sessions.

The threat landscape will continue to become increasingly complex as organizations adopt innovative IT systems and methodologies. Progressive executives must understand that employees will be the key to successfully combating risk in the long run. For this reason, decision-makers must proactively ensure that individuals are aware of emerging security challenges and how leveraging various tools and adopting innovative procedures can reduce the chance of data loss. Striking a balance between technology usage and policy engagement will help firms improve security.

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