How Vulnerable Are Your Organization’s Communication Channels

A communication vulnerability might not sound like such a big deal unless you’re talking about cybersecurity. However, if your organization’s communication channels are vulnerable, it can lead to a variety of ethics issues.

Usually, you’ll notice the vulnerability as you notice an increase in ethics problems. With regular monitoring, though, you can uncover vulnerabilities and create a more ethical workplace at the same time.

Vulnerable Communication Channels Lead To Fraud

All it takes is for the wrong person to access an accounting email with some banking details to suddenly lead to fraud. Disgruntled or unethical employees who realize they have access to sensitive emails or can easily overhear phone calls may take advantage of the situation. They’ll misuse the communication channel to make it look like someone else is responsible.

Usually, it’s just skimming a little here and there. Or, they might place fraudulent orders to get products for free. It takes diligent employees to notice this, but tracing it back when communications are vulnerable can be difficult.

A Communication Vulnerability Hurts Ethics Reporting

If employees realize your organization has a communication vulnerability, they might not feel safe reporting ethics issues. After all, there’s no way to guarantee anonymity if their private details can be accessed by anyone. A poorly executed reporting method may leave your entire ethics system compromised. People could easily see who’s creating reports, leading to hostility and retaliation even before a report’s investigated. It can also lead to unethical employees intercepting reports.

Vulnerabilities Can Create Animosity

When you’re running an organization, all it takes is one thing to suddenly turn a happy workplace culture into a hostile one. For example, seeing another employee’s emails could uncover a large salary difference, making other employees jealous and angry.

Work communications need to remain private and secure. While there’s nothing you can do about someone looking over another employee’s shoulder, you can take steps to ensure communications aren’t sent to the wrong people and can’t be accessed without specific credentials. Otherwise, all that animosity that builds up could lead to numerous ethical problems within your organization.

One Vulnerability Can Ruin Your Competitive Edge

All it takes is a single communication vulnerability to ruin your organization’s competitive edge. Maybe an employee really wants a job elsewhere. Providing sensitive details to the competitor could make them your competition’s biggest asset, leading to a higher paying job with them.

However, removing that vulnerability helps remove the risk. Plus, if something is leaked, it’s much easier to track it down.

Lock Down Access And Monitor Regularly

The best approach is to monitor for any communication vulnerabilities. Pay attention to how employees are acting. Monitor file and account access. For instance, if someone’s email account is suddenly being accessed from a computer in another department, you may have a communication vulnerability.

Also, pay close attention to your ethics reporting system. If something’s suddenly changed, it could be a sign an unauthorized person has gained access.

Finally, encourage all employees to report any vulnerabilities they notice. For example, if they can access other email accounts, are getting texts meant for others or anything similar, encourage them to report it immediately. Also, teach them how to recognize ethics problems and how to report them to prevent issues from worsening.