Going Beyond Insider Threats

Posted on by Isaac Kohen

How to Balance Post-COVID Cybersecurity with Productivity Data for Remote Employees 


For many organizations, the past several years have been defined by an unending pursuit of data privacy and cybersecurity. Prompted by a daunting threat landscape, new regulatory standards and increasingly onerous consequences, companies invested millions in securing their digital infrastructure as an all-in attempt to meet the moment.


Since most cybersecurity incidents are connected to accidents and insiders, this meant investing in employee monitoring software and endpoint data loss prevention methodologies to detect and deter malicious and accidental insiders from compromising digital infrastructure. These efforts have only increased since the onset of the recent pandemic as companies look to fortify their cybersecurity standards, and provide oversight and accountability for a hybrid workforce. 


While the threat of a cybersecurity incident or a data breach remains ever-present and more consequential than ever, the year ahead presents unique opportunities for companies to centralize their cybersecurity initiatives by deploying the data collected from employee monitoring to create efficient and effective organizations.


Here’s how.

#1 Measure Productivity

As businesses transition to a hybrid workforce, many leaders are concerned about employee productivity. Without the ability to physically keep tabs on everyone, workers might be tempted to take long lunches, ignore responsibilities or indulge in a Netflix binge on company time.


Fortunately, these fears have been almost entirely unfounded. Instead, employees are putting in more hours than ever before. The average workday for remote employees has expanded by three hours, further eroding the boundaries between personal and professional lives. Ironically, more hours has not meant increased productivity or a better product. In response, it’s clear that businesses need a new way of monitoring engagement and productivity.


To be successful, employees need clear information and goals, and companies need insights into their progress. Employee monitoring produces data on employee behavior while also tracking task completion and outcome-driven objectives. In this way, businesses can parlay their cybersecurity efforts into productivity assessments that measure more than just mouse movements or app activity.

#2 Make Informed Decisions

Like many companies responding to the recent pandemic, Microsoft had to transition to a remote workforce practically overnight. To maintain productivity, the company analyzed information from its monitoring efforts to make the best use of their employees’ time.


The data indicated that employees were most productive in the morning, allowing managers to schedule meetings and other events in the afternoon, which maximized workers’ time and output.


Similarly, the data from employee monitoring yields critical information on operational best practices, app management and other resources that allow leaders to make informed decisions that eliminate bottlenecks, maximize efficiency and promote excellence.

#3 Support Team Members

People are struggling in unique and profound ways right now. Employee surveys continually reveal that many are more stressed than ever before, and they are experiencing burnout from the erosion of work-life balance and the rapid increase of reasonable concerns and frustrations.


Strong organizations are predicated on healthy teams. Unsurprisingly, as people struggle, organizations flounder. Without compromising employee privacy or individual autonomy, companies can leverage their monitoring efforts to assess engagement and facilitate helpful conversations with workers.


For example, monitoring may reveal that an employee is frequently checking email after hours or responding to messages on weekends. Leaders can use this information to set better standards for their employees that promote employee well-being and, ultimately, stronger organizations.


It’s estimated that the number of remote workers will double in 2021, making it the perfect time to harness the transition to a remote and distributed work environment to create new data points that make companies more productive, systematic and informed.


In the next year, businesses will undoubtedly have to make many difficult decisions as they try to accomplish more with less. Therefore, novel efficiency and productivity gains are in high-demand, something best achieved through data analytics. Armed with comprehensive metrics, leaders can make better decisions that mitigate challenges and maximize opportunities.


Ultimately, monitoring is more than just a cybersecurity defense strategy. It’s an opportunity to align enterprise goals with employee productivity and performance while ensuring security and compliance.

Isaac Kohen

CTO and Founder, Teramind

Hackers & Threats Human Element

Blogs posted to the RSAConference.com website are intended for educational purposes only and do not replace independent professional judgment. Statements of fact and opinions expressed are those of the blog author individually and, unless expressly stated to the contrary, are not the opinion or position of RSA Conference™, or any other co-sponsors. RSA Conference does not endorse or approve, and assumes no responsibility for, the content, accuracy or completeness of the information presented in this blog.

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