4 New Tech & Tools That Raise Security Concerns at Work

I’m all about engagement, sharing and oversharing when it comes to social media. I also absolutely love technology. My life is surrounded by it. Not only is it part of my job, but I use apps like Yelp to select places to eat when I’m traveling. I also rent clothing for special events using apps like Rent the Runway. I’m leveraging technology for productivity and life efficiency. My goal is to not go to the store. I absolutely hate it. It’s a complete waste of my time which is why I use websites like Soap.com for online and automated ordering. A day later they deliver everything you need right to your door.

Workplace Security & Technology

The percentage of employee’s who are leveraging technology like I am in their daily lives is increasingly at an amazing rate. We are trading privacy for performance and ease of use with tools apps, mobile phones and navigation systems in our cars getting us from point a to point b. Outside of the workplace and corporate environment, technology is changing, growing and evolving at lightening speed. The consumer technology marketplace is booming. Even the post office is testing the use of drone delivery mail service. Our lives will never really be the same.

Companies can control and monitor technology use and adoption but only on their own systems. This is the biggest concern and threat as an employer. Cyber attacks and hacking should certainly be a huge concern, but equally important is that security risks and privacy concerns as well as threats that are coming from your own employees.

Security Concerns for Employers

I don’t believe that these leaks and compromises by your employees are all intentional. Most don’t understand the law, company requirements or how powerful for a competitor access to your proprietary information can be. These unintentional risks are the biggest threat to your company.

  • Self-destructing text messages. Apps like WhatsApp and Snapchat already offer self-destructing messages for users. I’m more concerned about yesterday’s announcement from Apple in that self-destructing text messages will become a standard offering on Apple iPhones with IOS 8. This is a huge concern and risks that companies need to consider as the supreme court considers text messaging similar to email. This likely in direct violation of your company’s data and information retention policies.
  • Connectifier. As a recruiter and sourcer, I absolutely love this tool. Read about it here. It gives me email, phone and social media information of a person when I view their profile on Twitter, Quora and LinkedIn. No more email list buying or wasting time worrying over InMail response rates. I can connect with you all the time anytime. I’ve scared my share of candidates as I’ve been testing the service. If you read the TOS, they are collecting information from any open tab on the browser where the extension is installed. Companies need to be aware of the apps and tools employees are using as they might be compromising the organization and putting them at risk. Your security team should be aware of extensions and different tools employees are using for work and the information those tools are gathering about your company.
  • Wearable tech like Google Glass. Tech like this allows me to shoot video and take pictures either by touching my Glass or by voice. While I don’t have x-ray vision, I am able to instantly upload and record information completely hands free. The current version of Glass is part of a closed beta program. However, it should be available to the general public later this year. The tech right now (seen above) is big and clunky so it’s easy to see. Google recently filed a patent for contact lenses that take pictures and record video. Employers should be aware that in the years at follow, we won’t be able to tell who is wearing wearable tech like Google Glass and if/when big brother is watching.
  • Earful and Anonymous Apps for the Workplace. A new app was released last month for anonymous communication based on the app Secret.ly but exclusively for company employees. Called Earful and available on Apple’s iTunes, employees from an organization can join by downloading the app and can post their workplace secrets and opinions both good and bad anonymously with one another completely oblivious to their employer and management team. Employees verify that they work at a company through LinkedIn, and they can begin sharing with each other anonymously. Managers don’t know that the sharing is happening. It’s the workplace grapevine meets technology meets mobile all in one, and that’s downright scary.

The future or technology is driven by demand as well as the desire for information, particularly how we live our lives so that companies can better target us as consumers and citizens in this new global and 24 hour economy. Employers need to stay up to date on technology trends and really sit down and consumer how these consumer and corporate products and services will impact their company’s security, privacy and business strategies.

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Jessica Miller-Merrell

Jessica Miller-Merrell (@jmillermerrell) is a workplace change agent, author and consultant focused on human resources and talent acquisition living in Austin, TX. Recognized by Forbes as a top 50 social media influencer and is a global speaker. She’s the founder of Workology, a workplace HR resource and host of the Workology Podcast.


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