Data security is a vital issue for many organizations. In our digital world, sensitive company and client information can be gone in an instant.

Data Security Threats on the Rise

PwC’s 2016 Global State of Information Security Survey highlights rising data security incidents and concerns. The survey notes data security incidents rose by 38%, from 2014 to 2015.

Managing data security threats is becoming top of mind for most organizations. Respondents boosted information security budgets in 2015 by 24%.

Yet despite these increased budgets, threats persist.

The most notorious security breaches make headlines, like the 2012 LinkedIn breach reported earlier this year. While only a handful make the front page, incidents of this scale are not one time events.

The list of data security breaches since 2010 is an extensive one. Other notable incidents involve the US Voter Database and Ebay. These 2 data security incidents alone, account for nearly 350 million user records and data being exposed.

For more on the extent of of this threat, Information is Beautiful has created a timeline of the World’s Biggest Data Breaches.

The Threat You Overlooked

charging your phone through a work computer creates data security risks

When discussing data security, firewalls and external network security immediately come to mind. Yet a recent Intel Security study, found that internal employees account for 43% of data loss.

The biggest internal data security threat, is likely in your pocket right now. You may even be using it to read this.

Employee cell phones have the potential to compromise networks and the data on them. Once connected to a company computer, this potential increases.

Employees are able to manually extract files and bring them home. This is done the same way you would use a USB key. However, a larger threat exists from a phone infected with malware.

Mcafee and Intel Security have been reporting on increased threats to mobile devices since 2012. In their latest report, mobile malware threats are highlighted. New forms of malware, such as a collection of bugs known as “Stagefright”, allow hackers to control phones remotely.

Hackers can use malware like Stagefright to control a phone while it’s connected to your computer. This would allow the hacker to access company files behind the firewall. These types of attacks are carried out without the employee even knowing what has happened.

Battling Employee Behavior

Despite the huge data security threat presented, plugging a phone into a work computer is common. This is because employees run out of juice on their phones during the day. For employees with limited access to power, computers are a convenient option for phone charging.

Even the US military can’t escape the issue. Department of Defense (DoD) rules outlaw plugging phones or other devices into government computers. Yet for the US Army in South Korea, smart phones are their top digital security headache. In fact, 129 smart phone related violations were detected in just one week. The biggest issue was users charging their phones on DoD computers.

Better Charging Experiences

The Haworth Immerse Table

The Haworth Immerse Table Offers Built-In Charging. It eliminates the need to plug your phone into a computer

Your team and employees are happiest when their phones are charged. A ban on plugging phones into computers helps with data security, but can frustrate people who desperately need a charge. Some companies are even soldering USB ports shut on computers because of repeat violations of this policy. To make sure people stick to the data security policy, it’s important to provide charging alternatives.

Having power outlets present within an office is one thing. Having the plug locations close enough that employees use them is another. Employee’s can’t check their phones when a plug is located across the room. This results in the employee using their computer to charge up.

Furniture firms are responding by including charging in office design. For example, Haworth’s Immerse table provides charging through both USB and plug outlets.

Wireless charging is another solution for Facility Managers. If employees have desk-side wireless charging available, they won’t be tempted to plug into a computer. This solution provides the best of both worlds – a great user experience while maintaining data security. Interested in implementing wireless charging at your office? Consider these 4 questions first.

Collaborating for Success

The threats to data security are constantly evolving. Data breaches are constantly happening, discovered and patched.

As a Facility Manager, you have the opportunity to create positive change in the workplace. Collaboration with IT is critical to implement effective processes and encourage good behaviour. By re-enforcing sound data security practices with employees, you can help eliminate internal breaches and reduce risks to the organization.

In the face of an ongoing threat as large as data security, two heads are always better than one. Maybe you’ll even be able to tap into that large IT budget for some solutions!