How Cultural Differences Can Lead To Data Leakage And Financial Loss

How Cultural Differences Can Lead To Data Leakage And Financial LossSource: Pexels

Hiring a multicultural team has become very standard for lots of businesses nowadays. With the numerous benefits that a multicultural workforce can bring to a business, it’s hard to pass on the opportunity. However, there are also a number of drawbacks associated with multicultural teams, which primarily relate to the loss of sensitive business data and intellectual property.

1. What Can Happen to Your Business?

Employees all around the globe use business networks to connect, collaborate, share and transmit all sorts of data. On top of that, technological advancements aimed to increase productivity and decrease data sharing and transfer time, keep popping out in every sphere at a ridiculous pace.

Obviously, every business tends to take advantage of the new tech and encourages its employees to make the most use of out of it, which in an ideal scenario, will result in faster sharing sessions, more efficient processes and higher ROI.
However, network based collaboration doesn’t open up the data just to a business’s employees: the uneducated usage of all the newest gadgets make your business vulnerable to data leakage, information loss and numerous outside threats.
In addition to having lots of sensitive data at risk, businesses expose themselves to even more risks. In different scenarios, important data loss (merger/acquisition plans, marketing/sales strategy, business strategy, etc.) can lead to huge financial losses, damaged reputation, sabotage of the brand’s value in consumers’ eyes and loss of competitive edge.

This is a very serious matter for every business out there. Surveys and research done by Cisco have found that close to 50% of data loss happens due to human error or in other words, usage of unauthorised software to transmit data by the company’s very own personnel.

It doesn’t end there. Using unauthorised software is just one of the common mistakes that employees make during their working hours. Keeping passwords, sensitive business information and important files in a doc that is open to the public are among those mistakes.

2. Why Employee Education on Corporate Security is Important

Oftentimes, employees make all of those mistakes without actually realising the size of risk that they put their own company at. Another survey has revealed that 47% of employees and 77% of IT professionals think that their company’s security policies need to be updated. This is why educating your employees on how to protect sensitive information and keep your business data secure is an important step to undertake.

There are also other factors. With the rising diversity of the global workforce and each company aiming to hire the best workforce available, cultural differences create problems. Different tech is used and interpreted differently in different cultures, and new hires might not suspect about any of that when they first join a new team.

A good way to deal with this issue is to have a corporate security doc ready when onboarding new hires, especially when they come from another country. To make everything even easier, you should seriously consider the benefits of hiring multilingual employees to join your team.

This will not only help make communication inside the team easier, but also accelerate the rate at which each new hires will be integrated into your team, fully understanding the company policies and data security matters.

3. Inside Threats

While every business is exposed to outside attacks by hackers and data thieves 24/7, most of them are also exposed to inside threats. Employees make all kinds of mistakes all the time and however small they might seem, they can make a difference.

Talking about secret information in public places, not logging off properly from public computers, leaving passwords unprotected or saved on a URL and accessing unauthorised websites from their offices are some everyday examples. The risk get multiplied when an employee loses/leaves unattended his or her smartphone, laptop or any other device containing sensitive information (USB drives being the most common example).

You might argue that it’s the result of employee incompetence, which will be true to some extent. But the major problems come from unawareness and lack of diligence. Surveys have shown that 43% of IT professionals don’t educate employees on security issues well enough, which basically means that some people are simply unaware of what they can do and what they cannot.

Minimising inside threats and strengthening corporate security policies should be at the top of the priority list for every business out there, right next to business growth and expansion.

Fostering a security aware culture, educating multicultural employees on the importance of data security, evaluating employee behaviour concerning the security matters, creating, communicating and even enforcing security measures and providing an example with your own actions are all great starting points for increasing your security levels and minimising data loss.