Data security can make or break a business. Cyberattacks and security breaches have the potential to wreak havoc, damaging an organization’s reputation and affecting the bottom line. With so much at stake, it’s never been more important to take steps to secure company and customer data.

The recent Context Aware Security Report by Dell and Dimensional Research highlighted the importance of balancing the need to secure corporate systems and maintain employee productivity. The report surveyed 460 IT professionals and over three hundred business users in an attempt to examine the impact of company security measures on employees, drawing attention to the apparent value of ‘context-aware’ security.

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Dell’s promotion of context aware security stems from the observation that overly restrictive policies can harm staff morale and even, with employees finding workarounds to avoid IT-imposed measures, counter-productive.  To prevent such scenarios from occurring, Dell’s analytics engine is designed to adapt to the context of user access, with access varying according to the level of risk, based on factors such as time, location and network.

The survey’s findings painted a detailed picture of office security practices in 2015. Since the participants were employees at companies in either the US, UK and Germany, the results provide an interesting basis for international comparison of how security impacts productivity, the use of cloud and multi-cloud, and BYOD policies.

Access measures, for example, appear to be particularly problematic. The survey found that 85% of users had more than one password or login, and that 91% felt they were negatively impacted by their employer’s approach. There was also a widespread sentiment, shared by 87% of employees, that security was prioritized over productivity.

Cloud computing and BYOD are changing office workflows. On the one hand, 77% of those surveyed said they believed that cloud-based applications have the potential to increase employee productivity. And yet, on the other, almost three-quarters of respondents suggested that security challenges were getting in the way of wider adoption, with 53% saying that it was difficult to address changing security needs.

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Discussing the report’s findings, John Milburn, Executive Director and GM at Dell Security, said: “IT thinks it has only two options for security – turn the dial to 1 (open) or 11 (super secure). Context-aware security gives IT the ability to adjust the dial in real-time, giving users the convenience they desire without resorting to risky workarounds, and giving the security team the confidence they need to keep the organization both safe and productive.”

At Kensington, we’re committed to providing simpler, safer and smarter flexible security solutions, to keep your business operational.  We partner with IT Managers, users and procurement teams every day, responding to their requirements and sharing our expertise.

Images via Flickr: Dell Inc., Dell Inc.