According to the Dell End-User Security Survey 2017, forty-five percent of employees across organizations admit to engaging in unsafe behaviors throughout the workday. These behaviors include connecting to public Wi-Fi to access confidential information (46 percent), using personal email accounts for work (49 percent), or losing a company-issued device (17 percent). These scenarios represent a vastly different problem for companies to address, showing security gaps ranging from insider threats to a lack of effective security education.

This lack of education may cause even more widespread problems for companies with BYOD. Employees’ willingness to engage in unsafe behaviors is a concern, but what is much more troubling is when employees do share or interact with confidential data using unsecure technologies, such as Wi-Fi. In most cases, employee motives are not malicious, they are simply trying to do their jobs as efficiently and effectively as possible.

Wi-Fi is the most heavily used method to transport user data, according to multiple reports from analysis firms including Cisco, Aruba, and others. As a result, a company’s goal is not only to protect sensitive corporate information from unauthorized employees, but also from authorized employees accessing this information from an unsecure wireless network.

Perhaps one of the most shocking findings by Dell’s survey is that nearly two out of three employees who handle confidential data are being training on cybersecurity, but still don’t know how to keep sensitive information secure. The main issue is that company policies on confidential data usage and sharing are either unclear or not comprehensive enough to cover the spectrum of daily scenarios employees encounter in the workplace. Simple, concise, and clear security policies are key for preventing data breaches on Wi-Fi.

Wi-Fi networks often empower employees to share information; but first, organizations need to identify what is important data, and write down clear policies that define end-user access, types of data, who can have access to the data, and rules for its dissemination when using the corporate’s wireless networks. The goal is that at least 99 percent of employees understand why security is important, and do their best to use the corporate secure Wi-Fi network, no matter the device or location they are working on.

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