What Does a Transparent and Secure Digital Workplace Look Like?
This article provides practical insights into the successful implementation of both transparency and security attainable in the digital workplace.
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Over 25 percent of employees don’t trust their employers, and an even greater 50 percent think that their employers aren’t open or upfront with them. The lack of trust among employees is due to the lack of transparency in the workplace.
In digitally transformed organizations with digitized workflows, decentralized teams, and remote employees, embracing and maintaining transparency across different workplace tools can become even more difficult.
Adopting a transparent digital workplace can help foster a culture of trust, increase employee engagement, lower work-related stress, and boost performance. More importantly, a digital workplace gives employees the freedom to work from any device, any location, and any network of their choice.
While a transparent digital workplace is now almost necessary for organizations to sustain their growing workforce and retain talent, implementing a highly secure and yet highly transparent workplace can be challenging.
Well, it's challenging, but it's not impossible. Let’s take a deeper look into making this possible.
Why Is Security Paramount to a Transparent Digital Workplace?
With a digital workplace, employees are no longer chained to their desktops in the office. The charm of a digital workplace is that it decentralizes the workforce and allows employees to work from anywhere and on any device. But these BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) policies, can also introduce a whole new set of security risks including unsecured networks, lost devices, unsecured data transfer, and malicious applications.
Over one in five organizations suffer from mobile security breaches that are mostly driven by malicious WiFi and malware. Moreover, 30 percent of organizations have already increased their security budgets due to their BYOD policies, while others are planning an increase.
That means, for organizations, it is just as important to set up a secure digital workplace as it is to set up a transparent digital workplace. Security and transparency should always go hand in hand: without security, a transparent digital workplace can end up making your company data highly susceptible to outsiders. However, without transparency, a highly secure digital workplace may lead to frustrated employees, decreased collaboration opportunities, and lowered productivity.
How Can a Transparent Digital Workplace Be Secure at the Same Time?
When you are setting up a digital workplace, it’s critical to ensure it follows all standard security and privacy measures, including:
In digital workplaces, data is stored on the cloud to allow employees easier access from anywhere and on any device. This also creates a need for organizations to ensure their data is securely stored on the cloud with no way for outsiders to gain access to it.
Secure cloud storage begins with the usage of the right tools. Most cloud storage providers have servers located in warehouses where unauthorized physical access is impossible. Also, files on the cloud servers are encrypted, making it harder for cybercriminals to get access to the data in the files even if they get access to the files themselves.
Here are some of the many security measures that most cloud providers take to protect the data:
Consistently updating their security measures
Using AI to identify possible vulnerabilities and fixing issues before they even occur
Establishing built-in firewalls to filter out suspicious traffic
Maintaining data redundancy and backup servers to always provide access to data even if there is a power outage or data loss
Data sharing is important for digital workplaces. It allows employers to quickly share large files, collaborate with their coworkers, and also presents a reduced need to maintain several versions of the same file on different systems.
But unsecured or inaccurate data sharing can lead to even bigger problems. Over 22 percent of employees have mistakenly received confidential information and 20 percent of employees have shared confidential information with others through unsecured platforms.
Here are the best practices when it comes to secure file sharing:
There should be end-to-end encryption, when data is at rest and when it is being transferred.
The permission settings should always be double-checked and only the people who need access to the files should have access. Conduct routine audits on files to see who has access to them. If a particular person no longer needs access to those files, their access should be revoked entirely.
Data that is no longer needed should be securely removed to prevent any unauthorized access to it, especially if it contains sensitive information about your organization. Often when a file is deleted with the usual methods, it does not actually get deleted from the main servers. Instead, only the pointers to the file get deleted. The data remains on the servers as unallocated space, waiting to be overwritten by newer files.
As a result, the digital workplace needs proper data erasure processes to ensure automated, secure, and auditable removal of files from all servers and storage systems. This will ensure that when you delete a file, it's completely deleted from everywhere and can be reassessed or reused.
End-to-end encryption is now a necessity for a secure digital workplace. It helps secure the data, regardless of whether it is on the cloud, on a device, or in transit. Encryption also helps avoid IoT-enabled breaches, combat advanced threats, and maintain the required regulatory compliances.
Before determining how to encrypt, it's important to determine what to encrypt, which can depend on the state of the data that you are trying to keep safe.
Data at rest: When it's in your storage, laptop, phone, or IoT device
Data in motion: When it's being transmitted over the network
Data in use: When it's being updated, viewed, or erased
Encryptions can be symmetric or asymmetric, but the type of encryption will also depend on the compliances that your organization needs to follow. More importantly, it’s a good practice to have more than one encryption in place to keep data secure.
API Security Strategy
APIs in digital workplaces help connect services and transfer data. But exposed, broken, or hacked APIs can lead to data breaches. That said, it is also important to note that not all data is the same and it also shouldn’t be protected in the same way. The way you approach data security depends on what kind of data is being transferred through the API. In case your API connects to a third-party application, you need to understand how the application funnels the data through it.
Here are some of the best practices that can strengthen API security:
Assign tokens to trusted identities and control access to the different resources and services.
Use encryption to always secure the data and ask for signatures to ensure only the authorized users are decrypting and modifying data.
Proactively identify any vulnerabilities that could affect your APIs.
Put quotas on the number of times APOs can be called and tracked. Also, establish rules for throttling to protect APIs from DoS attacks and spikes.
Introduce API gateways to control and analyze how the APIs are being used.
A Transparent and Secure Digital Workplace Starts With the Employees
A digital workplace makes it possible for employees to access applications and work data from anywhere and any device in order to manage the work assigned to them. It is exactly this wide level of access that requires robust and high security to ensure your company data is always safe and within the digital walls of your company.
Start by establishing a security team responsible for identifying any vulnerabilities in the digital workplace, conducting routine audits, and organizing security seminars for the rest of the employees. Keep in mind how important it is to ensure that a secure and transparent workplace starts and ends with your employees. The employees should feel free to share their feedback about how to make the digital workplace more transparent. Similarly, the organization should be responsible for sharing the right security practices and measures for accessing the digital workplace in order to avoid any privilege abuse security concerns.
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