6 Dangerous Office Technology & Data Security Mistakes

by Elizabeth Dukes on April 7, 2016

With data security breaches sweeping headlines on a weekly basis, facilities managers (also called workplace leaders) and information technology professionals should be on red alert. According to Security Week, an estimated 121 million records were hacked in 2015. And while most of these resulted from external threats, insiders and the loss of physical records and portable/stationary devices containing sensitive information still contribute to the rising number of compromised records. While there is no surefire way to prevent a data breach or cyber attack, there are ways to reduce your risk.

cyber-attack-hacker.jpgFacilities managers—it’s high time you prepare for battle. Avoid becoming another statistic by taking a step back and assessing your current security setup. Are you making any of these six office technology and data security mistakes?

1. Assuming Your Facility Isn’t a Target

Large, medium or small—every facility is at risk for becoming the next victim of a data breach incident. Money isn’t the only reason people attempt to steal data. Motivation could be triggered by emotions, politics or simply the thrill of the act. Don’t make the mistake of thinking you’re invincible because of size or vertical, because businesses of every size are victimized daily.

2. Inadequate Building Security

With so much focus on “hacking” and other forms of Internet-based data theft, it’s easy to forget—protection starts with the bricks and mortar of the business. You can invest in the latest and greatest data security measures for your technological infrastructure—but without proper visual and logistical barriers in place at your physical location, someone could literally walk right in and take whatever they want. That’s why many businesses are investing in visitor management systems (which we’ll discuss more in a moment.)

Depending on the nature and location of your facility, you may also want to consider the following property security measures:

  • Cameras Knowledge_Worker_1.jpg
  • Outside lighting
  • Alarm system
  • Secure doors/windows
  • Controlled access points
  • Key-card entry

3. Believing Anti-Virus is Enough

Anti-virus is a must. But today’s hackers are brilliant, tech-savvy and can quickly and easily write new code to evade anti-virus software and bore a hole into your systems. In addition to anti-virus software, facilities managers should also have …

  • An enterprise-grade firewall to filter and protect data entering and leaving your technological infrastructure
  • A personal firewall (plus an enterprise firewall) to protect against threats already inside the network 
  • Data encryption to decrease the use and value of data if compromised
  • A manager to assist in the management and routine refresh of employee and administrator passwords

4. Neglecting to Use Visitor Management Software

Visitor management software is the most efficient way to track who enters and exits your facility, and to keep out unauthorized personnel. It will also assist with investigating possible criminal activity by offering real-time reporting that chronicles visitor history and lobby activity. Other features include: 

  • Online registration for visitors, employees and vendors
  • Guest pre-registration for upcoming events
  • Photo scanning
  • Badge printing
  • Alerts for unwanted visitors

5. Not Using Asset Tracking Software

Asset Tracking Software will help you monitor and manage the location and utilization of all facility assets, including those harboring sensitive information. If data-containing equipment is misplaced or stolen, asset tracking software will help pinpoint when it went missing and where it might be. Additionally, asset tracking software provides:

  • A complete profile for each asset, including contract details, images, product guidelines and key contacts
  • Mobile access to inventory information with search capability by serial number, owner, location and type
  • Customizable reports

6. Failure to Educate All Employees 

The biggest blunder of all is failing to properly train all employees across all departments. We aren’t just talking about a single seminar, either. Training must be thorough, ongoing and should cover basic security practices (like identifying and reporting questionable emails, building strong passwords and regularly changing them) as well as more advanced training on the proper implementation and utilization of security software and technology. After all, if employees don’t know how to use your security investments, what good will they do?

It’s also important for organizations to develop and mandate security guidelines for the use of mobile devices to keep the workplace safe. While these tech gadgets can be incredibly useful, they also create numerous doorways to sensitive business information. A strict policy on use and maintenance requirements will help make them less of a liability.

The current cost of a data breach ranges from $160 to $246 per compromised record, which can devastate businesses of any size. With the right security measures in place, sophisticated tracking software and proper training for staff, it is possible to protect your facility and reduce your risk of becoming a 2016 statistic.

Interested in learning more about security and how you can use technology to prevent attacks? Check out our free guide, Management, Security and Space Utilization in the Modern Age.


Elizabeth Dukes

Elizabeth Dukes' pieces highlight the valuable role of the real estate and facility managers play in their organizations. Prior to iOFFICE, Elizabeth was in sales for large facility and office service outsourcing firm.

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