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Zivver has released data showing that processes and bureaucracy are negatively impacting job progression and satisfaction, impeding employees from innovating and managing risk progressively. The research, exploring the attitudes and behaviors of more than 6,000 end users and 850 IT decision makers in Europe and the US, is one of the largest global surveys into secure digital communications and employee productivity to date.
The “Freedom to Focus” report explores the balance between employees’ need to be effective in their day-to-day work and IT teams’ responsibility to ensure robust security. The survey highlights that inefficient security processes are stopping both IT leaders and employees from developing the skills they need to maintain a secure, digital lifestyle, free from costly data breaches and empowered with productivity in a hybrid working world.
Half of employees (50%) found that IT security slowed them down and made them less productive, leading to a likely email error due to their being distracted from the job at hand. Meanwhile, the majority of employees (78%) felt that the IT environment requires them to grapple with too many arduous IT security protocols and disparate IT systems, hindering productivity and increasing the risk of mistakes. Most IT leaders (82%) echoed these sentiments, recognizing employees’ right to focus, free of distractions.
But, instead of being able to focus on their own roles, IT teams are being pulled in too many directions and working on initiatives that just aren’t working, such as training. Only a third of employees (36%) spoke of putting their data security training into practice, while another third (33%) questioned its value in the first place. On the other hand, IT leaders view training as essential (85%), and three quarters (76%) recognized its advantages in reducing email security errors. It’s clear that training alone is not the right strategy for tackling modern security issues.
Smarter technology is cited by many as a key component to helping organizations achieve productivity and focus. Four in five (79%) IT leaders now think that smarter email data security could reduce errors, and 87% say it would be beneficial if businesses had a solution that protected people from email security errors.
The data reveals that the vast majority of IT leaders (91%) think they could be more progressive in managing risk and should regularly review their approach to email security (72%). According to respondents, progressive risk management entails doing more frequent reviews of security practices (52%), increasing the use of smart security technologies (49%), and taking an approach to risk management that’s more proactive than reactive (38%).
For IT leaders, the most important attributes for a CISO in the next two years are being analytical in assessing threats (51%), being flexible to change as the landscape shifts (46%), having the ability to engage effectively with employees (45%), and being innovative/encouraging appropriate ‘risk-taking’ in the business (43%).
Wouter Klinkhamer, CEO at Zivver, said: “Given the speed of how much the world of work is changing, organizations must take a more proactive approach to data security. Our data shows that only 18% of IT leaders have their approach to risk and email security under constant review. Instead, they are relying almost entirely on employee training to prevent security incidents. As well as not being the right answer to the problem, this also points to wider issues concerning the growing skills gap and talent shortages which are hampering teams’ ability to manage cybersecurity proactively and truly innovate within their organization. We must empower employees– including IT teams – to work securely and give them the freedom to focus on innovation.”
Klinkhamer continued: “IT leaders now understand that employees need tools and technologies that enable them to work freely, rather than more restrictive measures or processes. Machine learning in a smart secure communication platform can and should be used as an active monitor as well as providing guidance or even automating security in real time. As well as benefitting the IT team by improving productivity, this would also allow individual employees to have the freedom to focus on the content of their message, not its delivery. This, in turn, will have an enormous impact on overall business operations and innovation.”