Security is a priority in any business, especially for small businesses. If you’re a business owner, you must give it equally, if not more, attention than your products or services themselves. Without layers of protection, everything you’ve worked hard for could go to waste. One of the security measures a small business should have is employee access control.
Small businesses often use employee access to determine which employees are allowed to use, view, or access certain company information. For example, Employee A, a supervisor, could be given access to more confidential data than Employee B, an entry-level employee, and so on.
There’s also a type of employee access that keeps unwanted personnel away. A great example of this is giving keycards for storage rooms with confidential documents. It keeps unauthorized personnel away.
Benefits of Employee Access and Security
There are several ways for you to implement employee access in your business. It could be a system that uses your employees' credentials, one-time PINs, or biometric scans. Some employ multi-factor authentication. You can choose what works best for your company.
But regardless of the kind of access you have, you should know its role in your overall security system. Here are the reasons why you need to manage employee access well.
Monitors Remote Access Behavior
The pandemic forced all of us to stay at home. Companies, big and small, explored the remote work setup. Although it was discovered that it’s highly convenient and productive, some issues were raised along the way. Security and privacy became a primary concern.
Allowing remote access to your employees could be risky. As a business owner, how sure are you that your employees aren’t sending sensitive data outside of the company? How are your people ensuring the safety of your customers' private information? The issue lies in how the employees protect the information they’ve gathered when nobody’s watching.
Having secure employee access allows you to monitor your people’s work activities even when they’re working at home (or anywhere else), regardless of the device they’re using. Some systems allow screenshots to be taken randomly throughout the day. You could also limit the available functions they can use when outside. It’s also possible to restrict access only to preferred browsers and so on.
Detects Malicious Activity Ahead
As defined by Law Insider, malicious activity is the act of wrongly using an IT system to intentionally cause harm or gain personal benefits. It could be externally or internally inflicted. Some common examples of malicious activities include disabling security systems, email spamming, phishing, viruses, network attacks, and malware.
Even when you have trustworthy employees, they might not be aware of how easy it is to get their devices hacked. The aforementioned dangers are already present on the Internet. It’s important to be ready for any of these possible events. One way to detect them early on is to regulate employee access.
Virtu suggests enforcing a strict access policy for the most confidential files that require permission from the system admin. Although it might not be the most practical and easy process for your people, it’s your safest option. Going through a system admin lets you record the time they accessed files and until what time they used their access. If there was a piece of leaked information, it’ll be easier for you to track whom it came from.
Another example is to let your IT create a strong firewall that also requires permission from the IT team whenever an employee needs to download something. Accidental malicious activities are more rampant than intentional ones. Some employees leak sensitive data unknowingly by clicking a random link. A strong firewall can prevent this from happening.
Allows Multi-Factor Authentication
One of the best ways to manage employee access is through using multi-factor authentication, or MFA. MFA is one of the most common ways to protect your devices. This is used in organizations and even in small businesses. It’s an authentication method where the user is required to confirm access through two or more verification factors. It adds another layer of protection from cyber criminals.
This also eliminates the danger of weak passwords. Without MFA, a hacker can simply breach your security with a simple username and password combination. But with MFA, it takes more than that. The only time they’ll be able to break into this barrier is if they have access to your other authentication factors or devices.
Helps Lessen Security Costs
As they say, prevention is better than cure. It’s proven that it’s much cheaper to invest in secure employee access and other security measures than to regenerate the sales lost once security is breached. Imagine if it only took one security breach to take down your whole company? How much would that cost you?
According to Atlantic IT, the average cost for a small business security breach is about $2.98 million per incident. Imagine going through these breaches multiple times a year. You’d be bankrupt in no time. In comparison, Business.com estimates the security system cost to range from $1,400 to $11,000 per year. Observe how big of a difference that is.
Complies with Data Privacy Laws and other Regulations
Managing employee access also complies with data privacy laws. According to Premier IT Solution, these laws regulate the storage, access, and use of personal data. Keep in mind that when you have a business, your employees and customers are protected by data privacy laws.
Whether intentional or not, a breach in security that would lead to the leakage of private information would be enough cause to sue your company. That would lead us to the previous reason, which states that it’d be more expensive to fix the issue rather than prevent it. Having a fool-proof access system eliminates this danger.
There are also regulations that companies in other industries are required to follow. An example of this is how the healthcare industry and other establishments must comply with HIPAA. If you have an employee who files for sick leave, then the record of his illness must be kept in the system. This is the same way how the financial information of customers should be kept private in the retail business.
When you have a system that holds all employee access, you also have an easy way of seeing everyone who works for your business. It can contain all of the important employee credentials. This is good for you and your HR staff, too.
Employee access is also applicable to entrance security. For physical offices and stores, it helps that you have digitized entrance and exit monitoring for your employees. Actual duty hours would be easier to keep track of.
Speaking of tracking, it also helps you oversee all of the activities done by your employees. Everything they do on their devices, be it mobile phones, laptops, or tablets, and everything they do onsite can be monitored through these employee access controls.
With the above examples, it’s more convenient for you to do the managerial tasks since you have a system that simplifies everything you need to oversee. Once you extract the needed data from your access control system, your reports are almost good as done already. It saves you enough time and effort.
Creates a Safe Work Environment
It’s important that your employees feel safe when they’re working. One of the best ways to do this is to make them realize the investment you made in your company’s security. When you’re a customer-dealing company, your employees should know that the information they’ve gathered from your customers is safe and highly confidential.
It gives your people the confidence to exert the extra effort to look into your customer's problems and provide them with the needed solutions. An employee who knows the system they’re using is unsafe might not be able to fully engage due to the fear of possible breach and so on. From there, it could spiral into a worse situation.
In addition, employee access systems ensure safety even when in a crisis or emergency. Morefield stated an example. Imagine that your office would encounter a fire emergency or earthquake, having traditional lock-and-key doors are more hassle to open than those automatic ones. There are also fail-safe locks wherein employees no longer need to search for their keys and exit the premises immediately and safely.
Increases Employee Convenience
We’ve previously discussed how convenient it is for you to manage your people with the presence of employee access. Now let’s dive into how it’s helpful for your employees too. There are lots of reasons why your employees would have an improved overall work experience because of employee access.
For starters, it gives them the freedom to work from anywhere in the world. As long as they have secure remote access, they can work while vacationing in Bali or even when they’re home early during the holiday season. Since the pandemic started, it’s also safer for them to work at home and with remote access, they can do that too.
They can also give up physical keys because they can simply use their assigned key cards. It won’t be that difficult for your onsite security team to monitor them too since each card has limited access varying depending on what position they hold. The ease of going about their day, no longer fumbling with keys, etc. is something that would help decrease their stress.
When your employees enjoy an improved experience, they also have an increase in employee satisfaction. An increase in this also means that they’ll be motivated to work diligently because they’re happy with their jobs. When they do their jobs right, it also means that you get to reap their hard work and everything pays off.
Centralizes the Overall Security System
It is ideal to have multiple types of security systems for your business, that’s true. However, when you have random installations and implementations from left to right, it could somehow get confusing. Meanwhile, an employee access system is already made up of different factors.
Access is centralized and administered through a portal or dashboard. This means that when you implement all of them under one software only, everything can be accessed in one view. In other words, it’ll be easier for your security team to track everything that’s happening. Especially when you use a cloud-based system.
When a cloud-based system is at play, you get to view the portal from anywhere else in the world. If a warning sound comes in, you’ll be notified immediately regardless of the time and place. This works especially best for small businesses with a few branches. Imagine how easy this would be for you.
Lastly, if you’re planning to upgrade your system or integrate new ones, it’s also convenient for you. You can set up your monitoring device to include the new ones with the existing solutions. With that, the whole security system of your company is in the palm of your hand.
As established, security is any company’s top priority. With that, employee access is an important factor that needs to be managed well in a small business. Beyond the protection that it gives, it also offers tons of other benefits that all lead to an improved security system.
Managing employee access is crucial because it allows you to monitor remote access, track daily activities, and detect possible malicious intent. It also strengthens the overall security system your company has at a low cost. It also helps you save more money than spending it on negative aftermath. It also forces the company to follow basic data privacy laws and industry regulations.
You see, your company is full of potential and is racked with numerous assets. It’s your utmost responsibility to safeguard all of the information that you or your company holds. That’s why you should do everything in your power to ensure that none of your money and effort is going to waste.