By Lars Helgeson, GreenRope
Within any company or industry association, there’s typically a certain degree of role sharing. For example, there might be a variety of folks on the marketing commitee working collaboratively on an upcoming event which requires the use of a software application to manage everything from email marketing to registration to surveys.
While it’s necessary to have a system in place to handle these various tasks, allowing all team members accessibility can lead to serious problems - and even worse - major security issues. Companies should beware of the many consequences that can occur as a result of not selecting a secure business management application.
For companies currently using such tools or considering implementing one, select a provider that places great emphasis on security for these three reasons:
1. Prevent company data from leaving
A primary concern for any business arises when an employee terminates and has the potential to take customer information with them. In August 2010, Harris Interactive conducted a survey of 1,594 full-time and part-time employees concerning their attitudes on accessing and viewing company information. Approximately 29 percent admitted they would take customer data including contact information and 15 percent said they would take product information.
Businesses work diligently to gain the trust of their customers so they should take extra precaution to ensure those contacts cannot be transferred from a system and taken out the company door. Examine the systems currently in place and determine if any changes need to be made to ensure this dilemma is avoided at all costs. The last thing an executive wants to worry about is confidential information finding its way in the hands of the wrong person.
When one person is assigned to a specific task and another employee unfamiliar with the tools accesses that arena, there’s a greater risk that something unexpected could happen. For example, say an employee is responsible for handling event registration and another is responsible for building and sending out the event announcement emails. By isolating these two tasks, neither person can override the other. If organizations don’t secure each element of the management system, accidents are more likely to take place and have the ability to lead to chaos.
Only allow individuals who possess the knowledge and experience to fulfill their specific job functions with the access to those areas. If multiple staff members are permitted to use the application, ensure they’re all adequately trained to use the various tools.
3. Limit liability concerns
Users of web-based software provide personal information in good faith with the understanding that their data won’t be shared with outsiders. Companies need to do everything in their power to protect such records because if there is a breach of confidentiality, they will be liable in the end. It’s essential to store data using the most secure network that decreases the possibility of liability concerns for both the customer and organization.
By now it should be clear why companies should thoroughly investigate the security options of their management applications. Organizations must protect their property and minimize opportunities for terminating employees to depart with company information. When specific assignments are delegated, provide passwords and admin privileges to those folks alone.
Implementing a management application system that provides for a seamless operation is certainly important, but ensuring such tools come with security features that enable administrators to minimize the risk of losing confidential information or making unnecessary mistakes is a must. Just because there are collaborative tools available doesn’t necessarily mean that teamwork is required on all fronts. Allowing unlimited access to programs can turn out to do more harm than good.
Lars Helgeson is the founder of GreenRope, a secure web-based platform that empowers small businesses and strategic consultants with the ability to manage their contact database, marketing communications, calendaring and project management initiatives from one user-friendly platform. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.