How To Make Your Security Program Empower Employees (And If You Should Monitor Them)
Should you monitor your employees at work?
Monitoring employees at work can be a touchy subject. On the one hand, nobody likes feeling as though somebody is constantly looking over their shoulder. We want to feel trusted and valued at work, not monitored and analyzed. On the other hand, many employees are already monitored, such as bank tellers and store cashiers, and many of them work on without complaint. The difference lies in the reason for the monitoring. At a bank, it is clear to everyone that the monitors are not meant for the employees, but for a potential thief. Bank tellers accept the monitoring for the sake of their own safety and job security. In other words, the cameras at a bank help create a positive work environment where employees feel enabled to do their jobs well. When it comes to office workers, though, the lines between safety and creepy monitoring can be a little more hazy. The same tools that prevent an employee from downloading malware can often also be used to track web activity to ensure the employee is staying productive. The same software that can block a computer virus can also monitor active application usage versus time spent idle. And the more the security team and its tools lean into monitoring the employees instead of protecting them, the more antagonistic employees become about the process.
In fact, Morning Consult found in a recent poll that more than half of tech workers said they would resign if their employer started recording audio/video on their workstations or if the employer used facial recognition to monitor employee productivity. Can you imagine losing half of your IT staff? What would happen to the company then? That is why ensuring that your security program works with employees instead of against them is critical. Help employees feel that security is empowering them to be safer at work. Leave employees free to worry about what matters most to them, their own tasks, as opposed to worrying about malware and computer viruses. And sometimes, all that takes is perspective and framing. Don't lie, of course. People will see through that quickly. But, highlight how security tools, especially new security tools, will actually help productivity, rather than hinder it. At the same time, listen attentively to complaints or problems and work collaboratively to find a solution that is both secure and resolves the issue. Strong security requires everyone's help, but employees will only help when they feel like partners with the security team. Otherwise, employees will constantly be looking for ways to bypass security policies and the security team will spend more time looking for threats in the company rather than outside of it.
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