There is no limit to the ingenuity of people in their endeavour to ‘get the job done’.
But the consequences of employees side stepping their organisation’s official and approved communications systems by conducting business via unauthorised and potentially insecure tech platforms can prove costly, both reputationally and to the financial bottom line.
As a chief executive, I lost count of the number of conversations with my peers dealing with employees and, dare I say, board members who had got into hot water through their use of well known social media applications to conduct business. Meeting conversations overspill into evening time; a bright idea springs to mind, a solution to a problem emerges or people just want to get things done. All generally well intentioned but, potentially, with negative consequences.
There should remain a clear distinction between work and private life and the need to support our people to deliver business outcomes in a flexible, cost effective and agile way has never been greater. This is true across all organisations, from a small localised business meeting demanding deadlines through to a global large-scale operation working across multiple time zones.
So many of us are familiar with using proprietary applications in our every day social lives and Covid lockdowns have up-skilled many more to ensure we keep in touch with family, friends and loved ones…who could imagine lockdown without the ability to see and hear your nearest and dearest?
So it is logical that people will take the same opportunities at work, applying their ingenuity to do so. The advent of ‘bring your own device’ (BYOD) as a conventional approach to working from home has only served to support this approach. However using systems with their origins founded in design for social use risks breaches of confidentiality, security, complaints and cyber threat. Resulting, at the very least, in time and effort to conduct internal investigations, but also the possibility of external regulatory scrutiny potentially resulting in a financial penalty and reputational impact. As for the individual(s) concerned, they risk a sanction for trying to benefit the organisation!
Who wants this? Surely it is our responsibility, as senior leaders, to ensure we provide people in the organisation with a system that allows them to operate with all the freedoms of contemporary communications as part of any information management strategy whilst providing them and us with complete security, even when personally owned devices are being used. So let’s chat, message, meet, share documentation with the flexibility that we have all grown used to but within a system that safeguards our reputation and our bottom line.
We should always applaud employees with the drive to deliver. But rather than bogging them down with rules and regulations about which platforms to use, as business leaders we should support their endeavour with technology that affords them the functionality they take for granted in a social setting but which also meets today’s industry standards for security and professionalism.
Mercury, powered by Secured Communications, affords us this opportunity.
Jayne Sykes, MSt (Cantab), BA (Hons)