Finding Equilibrium

You can use data and software to increase productivity and decrease security risks. 

By Isaac Kohen

Efficiency and smooth operations are key to financial and business success. When looking at transportation logistics, we need to consider how data can greatly transform the industry. Data has been coined the new currency of the modern era. Data is sold, analyzed and used regularly to make more accurate decisions and improve processes. Data will transform operations in a warehouse or distribution center by increasing operation productivity and protecting sensitive logistical data.

Finding new solutions will become a common business initiative. According to GHD, by 2050, it’s projected that global freight activity will increase by 3.5 times 2000 levels. Passenger transport is also forecasted to increase three to four times – particularly in urban areas were populations are projected to increase. Smooth and fast operations are at the very heart of making this a probable future. A viable solution to making this reality is to adopt proactive approaches to efficiency and data security.

User Behavior Monitoring Defined

Monitoring to increase productivity and decrease security risks is a future-looking tactic to adopt in the business strategy. This technology is a proactive approach to mitigating threats to the network and increasing operations, because this technology allows users to analyze data and make decisions in real time.

In the past, security has been approached by building firewalls and traditional legacy systems. We think of this as the base level of your security strategy. The next step is identifying the risks quicker, immediately and eventually before they happen. This is possible with user behavior monitoring and analytics. User behavior analytics focuses on actions and behavior performed by users and how far they diverge from “normal” behavior.

Using Monitoring to Increase Productivity

Software-based tools is the hidden piece to the equation. While manual labor still plays an important part in getting the work done, analysis and data tells us the team’s most productive hours and more. User monitoring tactics track all the digital movements of employees on the network. This gives insight into when employees are most productive, applications that are consuming productive time and tracking time worked.

For example, your company might implement a new software to monitor and schedule shipments. The software might turn out to be a time consumer, because the new application doesn’t offer all the tools necessary to complete the task. This might lead employees to switch between applications too heavily, or use other software tools to bypass. Employees wish to be productive, and they want their daily work tasks to go smoothly and effectively. Once monitoring software identifies this data trend, management can identify training areas or simply look for new software solutions.

Using Monitoring to Decrease Security Risk

Within your network, where does your most data risk lie? The first step in devising your security plan is creating a thorough analysis of your network and understanding your risk. This can start with a strong list of security questions to help you identify your security holes. These questions include: Where is my most valuable data? What is my incident response plan during a breach? All of these questions are great starting points in understanding your security risk.

Once your risk is understood, the next part of the equation is adding processes to protect your data. In logistic operations, one data breach or malware attack can have a devastating impact. As we saw with the recent Clarksons PLC data breach, even well established companies are at risk of data loss. Malicious hackers find entrance into the network through security “holes.” Once there, they can sit for months or years collecting data to exploit and profit from it. However, these criminals have to find a hole, and many of these holes are developed through negligent and risky employees. Phishing is a common tactic undertaken by hackers to gain entrance into your network. These hackers use common human behavioral flaws – like encouraging employees to click on links or sending malicious attachments from ‘trusted’ looking email addresses – to gain entrance into the company network. Once in, malicious criminals have access to your data.

Using monitoring and user-analytics is a formidable solution to this problem. Monitoring software use data to create a baseline behavior of employees or computers in the company. Once created, daily operations can be analyzed side-by-side with this behavioral profile to find changes and patterns. A step further, various types of monitoring software also can offer customizable “alerts” and detection so the management team never goes too long without knowing about a security breach. These alerts can, for example, alert managers when an employee opens an email .pdf from an unknown email address, or when an employee is assessing restricted company data files. This is an example of an insider threat, and they do happen.

Sometimes productivity and security do collide. As mentioned, malware infections and data breaches can cost a hefty penny for a company, but these types of attacks can also affect employee and company productivity. In instances like the Maersk data attack, employees were left without functioning computers and the ability to work. Without employees working, productivity decreased in the wake of this data attack obviously. When data security is threatened, the rest of the operations can suffer also. Monitoring and user behavior analytics is the proactive solution to make business goals a reality in 2018.

Isaac Kohen is the founder and CEO of Teramind, an employee monitoring and insider threat prevention platform that detects, records and prevents malicious user behavior in addition to helping teams to drive productivity and efficiency. He can be reached at