The dark side of DLP

A few words on the issues around DLP

There is no doubt that technology makes us more effective, engaged and productive workers. Technology also allows for flexibility in how, when, and where people work.

Best data loss prevention tools

Increasingly, employees are blurring the line between work and home in a way that benefits employers. In other words, the amount of work employees do at home has dramatically increased, not decreased.

However, instead of building a foundation of trust, employers are resorting to heavy-handed monitoring of employees' actions. According to the American Management Association, 66% of employers monitor Internet connections, 45% track keystrokes, and 43% review computer files. Increasingly the monitoring is automatic, with 73% of employers who monitor using automatic technology.

There are two primary arguments for Internet monitoring and tracking. The HR department uses monitoring to police and prevent employees from wasting time on the Internet. The data loss protection side protects sensitive information from leaving an organization without authorization.

The argument and necessity for security via data-leak protection is clear: blocking objectionable material is necessary. However, the argument for tracking of employee Internet use as an HR tool and metric of performance or productivity is problematic at best. At worst, it can backfire.

Monitoring creates a culture of distrust. In fact, if you cannot trust your employees' dedication and work ethic, how can you trust their quality of work, or customer interaction? This lack of trust also serves to stifle innovation, as it creates a rigid set of rules and guidelines. Most companies work hard to create a culture of innovation and creativity, and increased monitoring can stifle such a culture.

In fact, the most motivated employees are unlikely to need monitoring. They are already driven and dedicated to their job. Furthermore, employees who aren't are more likely to look for ways around monitoring. In fact, it seems pretty clear that a culture of monitoring will create structures and rules that penalize the most motivated, high-performing employees.

Trust is a two-way street, companies must trust employees, if they wish employees to be innovative, dedicated and aligned with corporate goals. Employees who still lack motivation and dedication clearly are not a good fit, and need to be let go.

In his book, "Good To Great", Jim Collins argues for getting "the right people on the bus." Specifically, Collins found that getting the wrong people off the bus (those who need to be disciplined – and monitored), and getting the right people on the bus (those who are self disciplined) is a key determinant in companies becoming great.

This ties directly into monitoring. The right people will be self-motivated and self disciplined, and not need monitoring. Data-leak protection can provide security against breaches, however when monitoring is used as a tool to examine every minute of work, we create a false metric of productivity and dedication.

Excessive monitoring as an HR practice creates a rigid, inflexible environment where employees are constantly looking over their shoulders, concerned about employer perception rather than actual innovation. The right employees are more productive when given flexibility and freedom.

Kass, is a systems administrator for the School of Education at Drake University, and a Public Administration Graduate Student at Drake University. He can be reached at ken.kass@drake.edu.

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection

Tags DLP

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Kenneth Kass

Network World
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

George Khoury

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic

David Coyle

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

I rate the printer as a 5 out of 5 stars as it has been able to fit seamlessly into my busy and mobile lifestyle.

Kurt Hegetschweiler

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

It’s perfect for mobile workers. Just take it out — it’s small enough to sit anywhere — turn it on, load a sheet of paper, and start printing.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?