As the digital landscape evolves and becomes a more-necessary aspect of business, decision-makers are learning they need to monitor employee behavior to ensure mission-critical applications and data remain safe.
According to a new report by Gartner, 60 percent of enterprises are planning to implement monitoring programs by 2015 that inspect worker activity on social media in an attempt to avoid breaches that expose sensitive information. Although many companies already use some form of monitoring to observe marketing strategies, fewer than 10 percent do so for their data security initiatives.
The prospect of investigating employee activity on Facebook and other social networks also introduces data privacy concerns.
"The growth in monitoring employee behavior in digital environments is increasingly enabled by new technology and services," Gartner research vice president Andrew Walls said. "Surveillance of individuals, however, can both mitigate and create risk, which must be managed carefully to comply with ethical and legal standards."
These concerns aren't new, as they have prevented many monitoring strategies from delving deeper into activity on corporate networks. But the emergence of mobile devices, social media and cloud computing has increased the demand for worker behavior examination, as there are now numerous channels that may present vulnerabilities. As a result, decision-makers are changing their policies and creating more robust surveillance plans.
Another issue arises as more organizations adopt storage and analytic tools in preparation for the advent of big data. These solutions enable IT departments to capture and make sense of information gathered on employees and customers, helping organizations gain a competitive advantage over rival firms and find any vulnerabilities within the corporate network, Gartner noted.
According to a separate survey by Informatica, nearly 70 percent of companies are either considering, planning, testing or running big data initiatives. However, 38 percent of respondents have data protection and privacy concerns about these plans, while a similar percentage feel they will develop issues with the quality of data gathered.
"The problem lies in the ability of surveillance tools and methods to produce large volumes of irrelevant information," Walls said. "This personal information can be exposed accidentally or become the target of voyeuristic behavior by security staff."
As social media, BYOD (bring your own device) and cloud computing continue to disrupt traditional business operations, it will be important for decision-makers to strike a balance between employee monitoring and data privacy, as an invasion of the latter can lead to severe repercussions.
Data Security News from SimplySecurity.com by Trend Micro