SMBs Can Balance Security and Productivity

Security Doesn’t Have to Stand in the Way of Productivity

Updated: January 31, 2023 

Security measures are vital. Productivity will quickly nosedive when not appropriately implemented due to a data breach or other cyber incident. On the other hand, companies must carefully consider how stringent security measures impact those they should protect. Left unchecked, it also can lead to decreased productivity. 

As such, all organizations today face a difficult challenge: 

To protect their data and resources from increasingly sophisticated cybersecurity threats without making it difficult for their employees to remain productive. 

How to Maintain a Security Posture with Productivity 

Security firm IS Decisions surveyed over 500 organizations from the US and UK and found that large US companies lose around 182 days of work annually because of their complex security procedures. The number is naturally smaller for SMBs with fewer employees, but it’s nonetheless significant. 

Security and productivity can thrive together. Thoughtfully implemented security controls increase an organization’s productivity. This boost in productivity is due, in part, to the decreased likelihood of a security incident causing downtime.  

Let’s look closely at several proven strategies that help maintain a strong security posture without diminishing productivity. 

1. Identify the Biggest Productivity Issues 

Problem: When management considers implementing a security solution, they mainly evaluate its cost, effectiveness, and ease of implementation. In contrast, frontline workers are concerned predominantly with how the change will impact their ability to do their work.  

Solution: Frontline workers know better than anyone else what the biggest productivity killers in the organization are. Ask them for their feedback because it can go a long way in accurately identifying them. 

2. Implement Security Controls  

Problem: Building a reinforced stone wall around an aircraft carrier might be an effective way to prevent enemy missiles from reaching it. Still, it would render the aircraft carrier more or less useless.  

Similarly, cutting employees from the outside world with strict firewall rules can make many common attacks impossible to execute. Yet, it can also make it very difficult for employees to be productive.  

Solution: Develop a solid understanding of employee workflows and implement security controls based on them. This process will have the most significant impact on security and minor implications for productivity. 

3. Partner with an Expert  

Problem: Finding the balance between security and productivity can take a lot of work. The least productive thing senior decision-makers can do is to lose focus on their core business while attempting to wear multiple hats simultaneously.  

Solution: A great approach is to partner with an experienced Managed Security Services Provider (MSSP), like Aligned Technology Solutions. The right MSSP can employ effective security solutions that enhance productivity and security. Plus, they can do it more affordably than if you were to do it all in-house. 

Not sure what your small business should look for in a managed service provider? Download this checklist to evaluate critical items before committing. 

MSP Checklist ebook

4. Focus on Raising Cybersecurity Awareness 

Problem: Even the best security system can only provide satisfactory protection if employees understand it, ignore it, or unknowingly compromise it. On the other hand, a reasonably average security system can withstand sophisticated cyber attacks if employees act as the first line of defense. This defense makes cybersecurity awareness training critical.  

Solution: By educating employees about the best security practices, organizations can increase their security without becoming less productive since the time spent on cybersecurity training sessions is negligible in the grand scheme. 

5. Choose the Right Security Solutions 

Problem: The cybersecurity landscape is vast and varied, and all organizations forced to navigate it have different needs. The exact security solutions that make sense for large enterprises can be detrimental to both security and productivity when used by small and medium-sized businesses.   

Solution: That’s why organizations must choose the right security solutions based on their own needs rather than on what’s trending. 

Balance is Key to Security and Productivity 

Security and productivity are like the two plates suspended at equal distances from a fulcrum of a traditional weighing scale. Both plates must stay level with each other to achieve a balance between them.  

It’s not always easy, but it’s possible. The effort is well worth it because it leads to everyone in your organization being able to do their best work. 

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