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Six Critical Digital Workplace Security Risks and How to Avoid Them

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Assessing the Human Risk of Digital Collaboration

by Aware HQ

Digital adoption has taken a quantum leap. That’s according to data from a McKinsey Global Survey of executives. The COVID-19 pandemic accelerated the use of collaboration technology by 3-4 years — and most executives believe these changes are here to stay.

In the first week of January 2020, collaboration tools such as Slack and Microsoft Teams amassed a cumulative 1.4 million downloads through the App Store and Google Play. In the first week of March 2020, that number soared to 6.7 million.

Organizations had to go digital almost overnight, as the workforce leapt from 4-6% remote to 35%. Dealing with unprecedented disruption on virtually zero notice, enterprises implemented the solutions that were the most available, but not necessarily the most secure.

Two years on from the start of the pandemic, organizations are now reflecting on the decisions made during the early days of remote adoption, and the long-term impact of those decisions on the future.

The Benefits of Collaboration to the Digital Workplace

Collaborative technology has introduced almost unprecedented opportunities for innovation and productivity. McKinsey found that companies which successfully leverage these tools enjoy 31% faster time to innovation, 15% increased productivity, and 10% revenue growth.

Digital collaboration tools can help employees to work faster and more efficiently than ever before. They provide a centralized hub for information sharing and file storage and democratize communication across the organization. Yet those benefits also introduce new risks to the organization, and the root cause of these risks is human behavior.

How People Create Risk in Digital Collaboration Platforms

Files can be sent outside the enterprise with the same ease they can be shared with coworkers. Passwords and PII are shared. What would once have been careless talk around the water cooler instead becomes a written record that represents an ongoing threat to security.

Risk doesn’t have to come only from malicious actors. With so much privileged information at their fingertips, sharing a file or committing confidential information to a written message is a matter of a moment’s negligence. This risk is exacerbated by the informal nature of collaboration. While workers overwhelmingly prefer to keep digital messaging casual, that can lead to employees writing down information they would never share in an email.

IT and Legal departments wrestling with governance, risk, and compliance must confront the role that human behavior has in creating and amplifying risk within a digital environment.

How Aware Assesses Collaboration Risk

Our Behavioral Intelligence team examined over a million enterprise collaboration messages to identify the factors influencing risk in the digital workplace. We found that the majority of internal threats to the organization came from three overarching categories. Download the report.

SENTIMENT

How employees feel about the company, culture, and leadership is a critical indicator of potential threats.

TOXICITY

The presence of unprofessional, harassing, or discriminatory behavior that can destroy company culture or expose the organization to legal liability.

INSIDER THREATS

Risk can come from accidental, negligent, or malicious actors, so organizations need solutions that can address all three.

In our Human Behavior Risk Analysis report, Aware exposes common blind spots in collaboration platform management. We review the real risks posed by each category and provide actionable insights that organizations can implement to secure their digital workspaces.

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Download the report now to discover how to secure your collaboration platforms against the risk of human behavior.

Topics:ComplianceData ManagementContent ModerationEnterprise Collaboration