With remote work on the rise, tools that help to foster collaboration are becoming more important than ever before. Even in traditional work environments, employees may spend up to 80% of their time working on collaborative endeavors. While the jury is out as to how effective inter-office collaboration may be, the truth is that in a global economy, the ability for workers around the globe to share and access the same information is becoming more critical than ever before. The sharing of information, however, has always brought with it an inherent risk to security. This means that collaborative security is also more important than ever before. Here are four ways to strengthen your collaborative security.
Monitor all external platforms
While no one likes the idea of knowing “big brother” is watching, the truth is that many of the same toxic behaviors and attitudes that can cause extreme discord in an office can be transmitted just as effectively through communication platforms like Yammer, Workplace and Slack. In addition, a recent study conducted by Wiretap found that out of more than 1 million messages sent on these collaborative platforms, 1 out of every 118 communications contained sensitive information and passwords were given out in 1 out of every 262. While monitoring your employees may seem like a violation of their privacy and feel somewhat like voyeurism or a lack of trust, the truth is, it is actually better for all parties concerned.
Create passwords for your employees
Every year, SplashData compiles a list of the top 100 worst passwords gathered from more than 1 million login information leaks culled from the internet. The passwords “123456” and “password” continue to make the top of the list, just as they have for the last decade. This is why it is a very bad idea to let your employees create their own passwords. By now we all know the elements that actually create good, strong passwords, so make sure that every employee has a good, strong password – whether they like it or not.
Do password updates regularly
No one likes password updates. No one. Not the people that have to create the updated passwords and hand them out nor the people that have to learn new passwords. Because of this, many companies still allow employees to create their own passwords and often put off doing updates. This is a mistake. When employees leave certain companies, it can sometimes be months before someone remembers to eradicate their login information from the system. This can be particularly problematic when you have a high turnover rate such as when you are using remote workers on a project by project basis. One way to avoid this is to do monthly password updates.
Get employee buy-in
One thing to remember is that much of the data you are trying to protect is personal information about your own employees. If you remind them of this fact regularly, you may get better participation from them in regards to security measures and precautions. At the very least, you may get less grief when you hand them a new password every month. In addition, not all data breaches are external. You can perhaps help keep employees from sharing passwords by reminding them of just how much personal information they are putting at risk by sharing passwords and other secure information with their coworkers.
When it comes to collaboration, the free flow of information and ideas and security will always be somewhat at odds with each other. Just like freedom and security always will be. That makes collaborative security something of a paradox. Like all paradoxes, they must simply be addressed and constantly balanced to help them function well together.