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To Block or Not to Block: Solving the Compliance Issue for Employers this Cyber Monday

By Colm 26th November 2018

Thanksgiving – traditionally associated with family, friends and food – has in recent years also become synonymous with sales and bargains thanks to the popularity of Black Friday. The annual event, offering customers unmissable discounts on almost all purchases, has spread not just from the US to the rest of the world, but also from a single day to almost a week of special offers from most brands and retailers. One day in particular that has greatly increased in popularity is Cyber Monday. Due to developments in technology and internet speeds and capabilities, many shoppers are now choosing to avoid the infamous Black Friday stampedes and overnight queues in favor of online shopping. However what does this mean for employers? Should they be concerned about their workers spending all day Monday glued to their smartphones chasing these must-have deals, or should they consider restricting all access to shopping sites? And on a broader scale, should employers have the power to control the content that employees can and cannot access on work-issued mobile devices?

Employers’ Hesitation

Many employers may be hesitant to restrict or outright block access to online shopping sites for employees. They may not want to be seen as a killjoy or overly strict, especially around the holiday season, or may not feel comfortable restricting what content employees can or cannot access on their mobile devices. This often comes down to the widespread opinion that mobile devices are inherently personal. In most workplaces it is widely accepted that activity on a corporate-owned desktop device may be filtered or monitored by the employer, however when it comes to mobile devices there is often a completely different attitude and set of expectations. This view is in great need of an update.  In many cases today, mobile devices are now used for both personal and professional business by employees and with more and more businesses evolving into ‘mobile workplaces’, productivity, sensitive data, and company reputation could all be at risk without proper controls and policies in place.

Possible Risks

Productivity and safety has become a main concern for many employees when it comes to mobile phone usage at work. In professions where the employee’s full attention is needed, such as driving or operating machinery, a mobile device can be major distraction, often without the employee even realizing. Social media, gaming, video streaming, and online shopping can have an extreme impact on both the productivity and the safety of the employee should they be unable to provide their full attention to the task at hand. In the case of field-based or customer-facing employees, unrestricted access to the internet could have disastrous results on both the quality of service provided and the reputation of the business should inappropriate content be accessed, either accidentally or deliberately. It is for these reasons that employers should not feel uncomfortable about enforcing acceptable use policies on their employees’ mobile usage. As enterprise mobility increases rapidly, so too does the necessity for restrictions and controls on mobile usage. Online shopping is only one of many categories, such as gambling, hate speech, and adult content, that employers are quickly realizing may need to be restricted.

Security Risks

As well as the productivity and reputational risks to business, there are also security risks to allowing employees unrestricted access to services such as online shopping. In 2017 it was reported that cyber attacks had increased by 45% from the previous year. Thousands on online shoppers have been targeted with banking trojans that infect devices with malware and phishing campaigns designed to steal login details, card numbers, and passwords, with many of these attacks occurring on Black Friday or Cyber Monday. And with attempts to defraud customers predicted to surge by over 14% during this year’s festivities while shoppers are expected to generate over $7.8 billion in online sales, protection and control will be crucial.

Corrata’s solution

Corrata’s unique Mobile Internet Security solution provides organizations with the ability to not just protect against potential cyber attacks, but also to ensure compliance with acceptable use policies to reduce risks to productivity, safety, and reputation. Corrata gives employers the power to decide which categories and specific sites their employees can and cannot access via their mobile device, with blacklists and whitelists that can be customized and configured to suit the company’s needs.

This festive season employers should no longer feel uncomfortable or guilty for managing employee access in order to protect corporate data or productivity. And without infringing on employee user experience or privacy by ensuring all data is processed on-device, Corrata gives the organization the ability to do so.

 

To find out more about Corrata’s Mobile Internet Security solution and how it can help to protect your employee devices and enforce your corporate acceptable use policies this festive season, visit www.corrata.com or email us at info@corrata.com.

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