Dealing with Risks posed by Technology in the Workplace

WorkplaceIn today’s competitive environment, more and more businesses are implementing efficient and cost-saving strategies. This includes outsourcing their transcription tasks and other non-core business activities to technologically advanced business transcription companies. In fact, technological innovation is rapidly changing the workplace, a process that began two centuries ago with the Industrial Revolution. However, while fast-paced technological change such as it witnessed today comes with many benefits, it also poses risks to employers. Let’s look at the advantages first.

New workplace technologies have ushered in efficiency, productivity, flexibility, mobility and new ways to recruit talent.

  • Artificial intelligence (AI) has reduced time consuming work, and automation has minimized errors, reducing time needed for rework.
  • Technology has improved productivity by boosting communication and employee engagement.
  • Smart software allows employers to schedule working hours and employees to manage trading their own shifts.
  • The Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) policy allows employees to access their work on the cloud using their personal mobile devices, further improving flexibility and productivity. This is further enhanced with increased compatibility of applications across devices, digital workspaces, video calling and conferencing, and cloud storage and computing.
  • Greater use of mobile devices has expanded mobility. Custom developed enterprise apps are becoming increasingly popular.
  • Platforms such as Twitter and LinkedIn have made it easier for companies to spot talent, especially in fields like information technology (IT).

While entry of technology in the workplace comes with all these advantages, it is weighed down by many risks. An article published by lexicology.com identifies some specific risks for employers:

BYOD challenges: The security risks posed by BYOD in the workplace are: lost or stolen devices, unauthorized access to systems after employees leave the company, risks posed by not updating firewall and anti-virus software, and chances of employees accessing unsecured Wi-Fi outside of the workplace.
Hardware and software failure: Power loss or data corruption due to software failure can have serious effects and halt production, disrupt vital processes, and lead to heavy financial losses.
Data breach: Computers and mobile devices are susceptible to data breach. In October 2016, users in Europe and North America experienced the frustration of service failure, when a cyberattack on the DNS provider Dyn made many internet platforms and services unavailable to them. The websites of Guardian, Twitter, Airbnb, Freshbooks and many others became inaccessible throughout the day.
In addition to criminal hackers, the way employees handle digital data also poses security risks. For instance, take audio transcription service companies. Their employees are trained on security, privacy and confidentiality. Reliable service providers have stringent measures to prevent the vandalism or theft of any information stored in their computer systems.
Misuse of social media by staff: According to a 2014 Law360 report, a survey by Proskauer Rose LLP found that more than 70 percent of employers have had to take disciplinary action against employees because of social media misuse. The problem is that when social media is used for business purposes, the chances that it may be misused out-of-hours by employees will increase. To mitigate such risk, employers should establish corporate ownership of social media accounts used for business purposes.
WorkplacePrivacy on workplace computers: In this age of increasing use of computers to manage mail and do business, an employee’s right to privacy has become a contentious topic. Today, computer use policies allow employer monitoring of workplace computers. Employers also have the right to track the websites their employees visit, block them from visiting specific sites, and also limit the amount of time that an employee can spend on a specific website. Such policies should be clearly communicated to the staff.
High costs: New technologies such as AI often require costly and time-consuming organizational change.
Risks of e-discovery: Technology allows employees to access and hold valuable information about business practices, clientele, and operations. When an employee leaves the organization, the employer should make sure that the information is handled appropriately. Prior to departure, the employee should indicate where the confidential is held so that it can be copied and secured immediately. Physically placing the departing employee’s computer in a secure location can help with guaranteeing privacy of sensitive information as well as ongoing litigation and future foreseeable litigation issues. Employees need to be educated on e-discovery.

Technology and social media provides organizations with many opportunities for improving work performance and improving security on their premises. However, the use of advanced technology can pose higher security threats, which outweigh the benefits that technology offers. In the rapidly evolving technology landscape, employers should set up policies, practices and education on use, storage and retention of employer data, systems, and property. Regularly reviewing and updating policies relating to acceptable use of email, Internet, social media, and BYOD should be made a regular practice in companies that rely heavily on modern technologies. Like all modern business, transcription outsourcing companies use the latest technology to provide high quality documentation solutions. Reliable service providers also have state-of-the-art service and security measures in place to ensure the confidentiality of client data.

About Julie Clements

Julie Clements

Joined the MOS team in March of 2008. Julie Clements has background in the healthcare staffing arena; as well as 6 years as Director of Sales and Marketing at a 4 star resort. Julie was instrumental in the creation of the medical record review division (and new web site); and has especially grown this division along with data conversion of all kinds.