Assessing the risks of team communications

  • Assessing the risks of team communications

    There is a hidden potential risk to every piece of private corporate communication data – every email, every text, every image, could have a cost to the business should it fall into the wrong hands. The stakes are high in the competitive business world, and many companies (and countries) are employing increasingly aggressive strategies to win.

    If the news is any indication, incidents of corporate hacking and espionage are on the rise. While many incidents are random acts of opportunity, teams today face more deliberate attacks targeting specific people in the organization. Executives, key support staff and sensitive types of data such as system credentials and customer data are desirable targets.

    The recent attack on Gemalto, a global manufacturer and distributor of SIM cards for mobile devices, is a perfect example. According to The Intercept, surveillance agencies cyber-stalked Gemalto employees and intercepted their email communications in order to obtain the data they were after.

    Understanding the potential risks associated with your team’s corporate communications requires defining what risk is. The National Institute of Standard and Technology (NIST) uses two metrics when computing risk:

    Likelihood, and impact.

    Therefore: Likelihood x Impact = Risk.

    Looking specifically at mobile communications, the likelihood of an attack on a mobile device used for corporate communications will vary depending on where the individual is physically located. Likelihood of attack goes up considerably in public places such as:

    • airports
    • coffee shops
    • hotels
    • restaurants

    Impact, or the consequences of an attack or breach of communication data will vary depending on the type of communication being compromised. The consequences are typically high for breaches of:

    • CRM database credentials (ie. Salesforce)
    • emails and texts containing private customer information
    • executive team discussions
    • secret product information

    Various combinations of the above situations will represent the highest risks to your team. The question to ask is, how often are these high risk scenarios playing out daily across your organization, and what measures can be put in place to reduce the risk to the business?


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