If you’ve ever gotten locked out of your email account or had to sit through a lengthy software update while you’re rushing to meet a deadline, you’ve probably got some pretty strong opinions about the relationship between cybersecurity and productivity.
It’s easy to see why. The more we try to make our organizations secure, the more hurdles we necessarily put in the way of legitimate users who are simply trying to get on with their jobs. In the modern workplace, CISOs have become the antiheroes of many workplaces — doing work that everyone grudgingly accepts is important, but doing it in ways that everyone vociferously blames for slowing them down and making their jobs harder.
I’ve got quite a bit of some sympathy for such views. The reality is that cybersecurity shouldn’t be a drain on your employees’ time and energy — so if everyone’s grouchy, it might just be that your security team is getting something wrong.
On the other hand, of course, we shouldn’t start cutting corners when it comes to cybersecurity. After all, the ultimate productivity-killer isn’t cybersecurity — it’s the ransomware attack that locks you out of your laptop for good, or the cyberattack that corrupts your files and destroys the work you’ve already done.
But that doesn’t mean that every single step that’s taken in the name of cybersecurity is merited, or that the productivity costs associated with such measures are simply the price we have to pay to keep our data safe.
One common mistake is to try to do everything manually. If a CISO expects their employees to tag sensitive files by hand, for instance, then they’re automatically requiring additional busywork that will wind up impeding their productivity.
Fortunately, balancing security and productivity doesn’t have to be a zero-sum game. New infosec solutions can eliminate many such headaches; in fact, 77% of organizations that have adopted more modern infosec tools say they’ve streamlined their operations as a result.
Automated data classification tools, for instance, can operate 10,000 times faster than human workers, while simultaneously reducing human error. The result: happier employees who can stay more focused on their core jobs, and better-coded data that enables you to fend off threats more easily.
So if you catch your employees protesting the number of hoops they have to jump through in the name of cybersecurity, don’t be too quick to dismiss their complaints. We can’t afford to compromise on infosec matters — but with the proper use of automation and AI tools, it’s possible to defend your data without placing too much strain on your employees.
Get the balance right, and you’ll be able to keep your organization safe — while still ensuring that your employees can dedicate as much of their time as possible to delivering value for your business and your customers.