TechGuard Blog

The American Dream

The American dream. Depending on who you talk to or even what century it is can determine what that dream looks like.

 In its earliest years, the dream consisted of westward expansion and finding new lands.

 In 1774 Virginia’s Governor, John Murray, said that most Americans were constantly imagining that “the Lands further off are still better than those upon which they are already settled.” In the 19th century gold became the focus of the economy. Anyone with a pulse and a few dollars they were willing to lose headed west. The 20th century brought new ideas; ideas of higher society, ideas of equal opportunity to make a good living, a white picket fence, and a happy life to follow.

Today, maybe even more now than ever, the American dream seems to be revolving around the idea of entrepreneurship and building up a company from scratch, into an empire that will leave a long line of wealth to the next few branches on the family tree. Building a business and maintaining profit in a sustainable way is no small feat in and of itself. If you had the opportunity to protect it, by whatever means necessary, would you?

Our CEO, Carla Stone, likes to say, “you’ve spent years of your life building up this business, do you really want some summer intern to tear it all down because they opened the wrong email?” And think about it, if you were at a monthly community commerce meeting with several other business owners, and one of them told you that their summer intern opened the wrong email and now they (the company) are facing major backlash publicly, financially, and legally; what would you think? You’d probably think it was the dumbest most irresponsible handling of customers' personal information possible. And if your next thought is, “that’s them though, that wouldn’t happen to me.” Friend, you’re dead wrong.

Citibank, Sony Pictures, LinkedIn, Yahoo, and T-Mobile. What do they all have in common? They all fell victim to cybercrime and I’m sure they all thought they were well protected. I wouldn’t consider myself a gambler, but I’d be willing to bet that your business has a few gaps in cybersecurity. I don’t just mean your firewall, VPN, or passwords either. Cybersecurity is a multilayered defense, and it all starts with your employees.

In a recent study done by HP, they surveyed 1,100 IT decision-makers and gleaned insights from a YouGov online survey of 8,443 office workers who now work from home. The study showed that IT workers felt pressure and had no choice but to compromise on security measures to appease remote workers who claimed the extra steps hindered their workflow. Just to outline some of the stats:

  • More than 75% of IT teams said cybersecurity took a "backseat to business continuity during the pandemic"
  • 91% reported feeling pressured into compromising security for business practices.
  • Nearly half of all office workers under the age of 24 said cybersecurity tools were "a hindrance"
    • 31% admitted to outright bypassing certain corporate security policies to get work done.
  • Almost half of office workers of all ages believe cybersecurity measures waste their time
    • the figure increases to 64% among those under the age of 24.
  • The survey found that 54% of 18-24-year-olds cared more about their deadlines than causing a data breach.

Understanding how security is integrated into your employee’s workday is the first step. It’s human nature to want a streamlined workflow. The second step is Security Awareness Training. It doesn’t matter if you have 50 employees or 10,000 employees, each one is potentially a singular click of an email away from tearing down your business.

Far be it from me to tell you, a presumably successful business professional, how to run your company but my biggest takeaway from those stats is that people are so fearful of missing deadlines they’re willing to leave the whole company vulnerable to a cyberattack, possibly without even knowing it (that’s where the awareness training comes in.) If your company already has a solid, well-built, security plan in place, emphasize its’ importance and make sure your employees understand where the top priority is; cybersecurity. Don’t let a summer intern or a new hire who’s just trying to impress you with their work ethic and punctuality, tear down your American dream.

Written by Kevin Urbeck