Now that the weather is warming up, and chief information officers are able to venture outside to drink in that fresh spring air, they may feel inspired to clean up their companies’ IT functions so their businesses have a fresh start. Taking on this task could mean that tech professionals are tackling a variety of aspects within their departments, making sure that they are contributing to making their operations as efficient as possible. While a share of these individuals may opt to target the infrastructure on which their businesses rely, it could serve them better to set their sights on eliminating anything that has the potential to pose privacy problems for their enterprises.
Big brother or big data?
In this day and age, it seems like just about every company is trying to dig up dirt so that it can add to its big data collection. This normally requires businesses to look into their target demographics’ preferences by following users’ online behavior. As strange as this may sound, to accomplish this feat, tech departments have to follow trails of information that people leave behind.
Although IT professionals are likely to use digital tracking methods so they can curate their own databases full of critical facts and figures about consumers of interest, these strategies are concerning when the tables are turned on the companies that employ them. CIOs deal with ensuring the security and privacy of their companies’ sensitive information on a regular basis, thus these tactics are a threat to their operations and must be thwarted by their efforts to secure not only their networks, but also their online accounts outside of their organizations.
Address employee accounts
If tech executives want to build barriers around their enterprises’ information so that other professionals are not able to compile a portfolio about their corporations’ every movement, then they should first address their employees’ online activity. It goes without saying that companies cannot really control what their staff members do in their free time, as far as the Internet goes. However, there should be some parameters placed on the privacy settings placed on their accounts so that no information pertaining to their companies are not public.
Computerworld’s Robert Mitchell explained that he personally takes some time each year to make modifications to his various online account settings to guarantee that information is not being displayed for all to see. If CIOs ask that their representatives to follow these guidelines, they could better guarantee that they can keep everything about their companies and staff members under wraps.
Mitchell recommended that IT professionals ensure that sites like Facebook are not able to keep track of their whereabouts, eliminating automatic check-in functions. Additionally, representatives be mindful of their “likes,” making sure that they are not public so that other users will not be able to glean their preferences, or even ties that their employers may share with other companies.
In addition, tech staff members should make an effort to limit how much personal information they post on the Internet. Even if they place privacy restrictions on their accounts so that only a select group of users can view shared items, there are also functions within sites themselves that allow these organizations to keep tabs on interests, catering customized ad experiences for individuals among many other features. By abstaining from oversharing, staff members can prevent sensitive information about their companies from making its way into other enterprises’ databases.
Examine email activity
ITWeb also pointed out that perhaps the largest privacy risk is posed by email accounts, including internal ones. While a number of CIOs may feel that they have more control over this means of communication, it really takes one click for confidential information to be sent outside companies. Mistakes can happen, and items can be accidentally forwarded or sent to the wrong people, which could put privacy in jeopardy. Although it is impossible for IT professionals to take back any information leaked in this fashion, they can at least keep track of who has access to it.
“The surest form of curbing potential breaches would be to opt for a secure mailing system that doesn’t just encrypt messages, but also audits them – allowing users to track the flow of information throughout the organisation as a whole,” Freer explained.