Our Netcare purpose is to provide technology success to our clients so that they are more productive and more secure.

Embedded in this Why statement is a deeper concept - typically in IT there's always a trade-off. A business can either implement new technology and be more productive. Or it can implement new technology and be more secure. We always challenge ourselves to find innovative solutions that balance the conflicting goals of productivity and security.

Technology advancements have brought lots of tremendous changes. These changes are evident in the work environment as employees can work remotely and still be productive. Yet, we cannot ignore the security challenges it introduces as well.

A good percentage of employees are dedicated to their job description and focused on being productive. As such, little or no effort is directed toward information security especially if it slows down expected performance. Research on data security reveals that employees favour a non-compliant attitude when enforced security measures introduce additional work. Instead of accepting it, they seek alternative means of completing their primary assignment.

An important issue to address is "how to create a balance between productivity and security?" The sensitivity of the situation has become a concern for security officers.

Productivity or security: What would it be?

If you were told to make a choice between productivity and security, which would you settle for?  A lot of employees think that productivity is superior to security. It is a common belief that the absence of productivity would have an organisation running into debts and possibly, bankruptcy.

But, what would happen if some security breaches compromised the organisation's data?  This situation will not only eat into the resources of the organisation but will also affect productivity. Chief Information Security Officers (CISO) will always choose security over productivity to avert this unpleasant situation. However, not every employee agrees with this decision.

Security managers are not aware of the burden that employees bear as a result of most of the security mechanisms. The CISOs believe that employees should put considerable effort into accepting the mechanism.

On the other hand, employees may feel restricted and will cut corners or employ insecure alternative means to perform their tasks. Unfortunately, even the consequences attached to poor productivity in an organisation will encourage employees to breach security policies and achieve the organisation's goals at all costs.

The only panacea to this puzzle is to create a balance.

The conflict between employee productivity and Information security

IT leaders and security officers are constantly in a tug war in the direction of productivity and security. As simple as it seems, it is not an easy feat.

In a study conducted by Dell, it was discovered that out of 460 IT professionals and 360 end users that participated in the study, only 9% agreed with the security measures adopted by their employers. A majority of the individuals, 91%, expressed displeasure with their employer’s security measures.  They maintained that the adopted security measures negatively impacted their work.

How to create a balance between productivity and security

Considering both factors must work in together to ensure that employees are not only productive but also secure, security officers and employees must work in tandem. This presupposes that security officers should devise a means that will encourage compliant behaviours from employees. Employees, on the other hand, must understand the consequences of a security breach.

A good system will encourage:

  • Security officers should listen to employees and understand their struggles. An ideal security mechanism can protect data security without interfering with employees' productivity.
  • Employees need to be aware of the importance of data security in business as well as how it can improve productivity.
  • A security system that is easy to use should be introduced as this will not take the time of the employees and still make them productive.
  • The use of a shared network will also help to enhance productivity and security.
  • The use of automation. This approach will make it easy for employees as they can make use of a password generator to generate passwords without going through too many challenges.

Why creating a balance between employee productivity and information security is important?

Various platforms are adopted by employees to increase productivity. These include file sharing, and sending messages from one another. Without a doubt, these platforms are advantageous in producing faster results.

However, there are increased chances of sending out sensitive data to the wrong individuals. This is mostly done in error and out of negligence. Therefore, creating a balance between employee productivity and information security will curb the risk that organisations are exposed to as a result of careless mistakes.

It will also help the employees to become productive while maximising the organisation’s resources.

Wrapping Up

Security officers and IT leaders are always caught up in the struggle between productivity and security. Thus, pulling too hard in the direction of employee productivity will cause information security to suffer and pull too hard in the direction of security, productivity cripples.

At Netcare, we are continuously challenging ourselves to find innovative solutions to the ever-increasing problems that are introduced by the conflicting goals of productivity and security.

If you desire a secure and productive workforce, call at (02) 9114 9920 or contact us.