Do you assume IT is the only department that has a role in protecting your company’s systems from viruses? No so fast. The HR department can play a vital role in the war on bugs, worms, and viruses.
Your company may have hardware and software to protect your systems from computer viruses, but those solutions must work very hard to stay ahead of the creative minds that develop viruses. Also, employees often are unaware when they visit malicious sites, download infected programs, and open up attachments in dangerous programs. Hackers do a terrific job of enticing users to “click here” and save when they really should not. The creative approaches include masking harmful communications and websites as innocuous and even “official.”
What HR Can Do: Enlist Employees in the War on Viruses
According to technology consultant David Micah Kaufman, there are concrete steps that you can tell employees to take to minimize the risk of exposing your computer systems to infections. They involve employee caution when introducing any new programs or data to their computers.
Kaufman says that when enlisting employees into the war on threats to your technological systems, you should keep these points in mind:
- It’s Not Common Sense. Generic advisories and policies likely will not have the desired prophylactic effect. Companies need to do training, including real-life examples and screenshots of these virtual temptresses, to have an impact on employee behavior.
- Make It Personal. Explain why keeping their system clean is important to the employee. Highlight the lost productivity, inconvenience, and possible loss of personal information that could result from an infection.
- Encourage Reporting of Issues. Hard-handed discipline of employees who may have accidentally compromised their systems usually backfires. Remember, this is often a tricky business, and even sophisticated users can be fooled. Plus, the sooner you learn about a possible infection, the easier it may be to impede the damage or at least keep it from spreading. Obviously, repeat offenders may be engaging in risky computer behavior that may require another approach.
Have you ever had an employee “click here,” accidentally allowing a virus, bug, or worm to wreck havoc on your computer systems? What was the damage? What was your response to employees about future computer use?