What Your Sales Staff Should Know About IT Security

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Every business has them; nothing happens until they successfully set the wheels in motion. Some call them Account Executives, Consultants or even Road Warriors… they are the Sales Team.  The best sales staff know their products and services inside and out, are very resourceful, provide solutions to clients, and move quickly to deliver new orders. While all that moves the business ahead, one aspect that many managers forget about their sales team is that they are big risks for security leaks, which can be harmful to the organization. Since sales reps are out of the office most of the time — in front of their accounts meeting in all sorts of public and private spaces — they expose the firm every time they power up their laptops or check email over their phone in a coffee shop or hotel.

Here are some key points that the sales team should know to heighten their awareness of organizational security and to minimize exposing the firm’s confidential data to the cybercriminal elements preying on them:

Guard Mobile Devices

While we often focus on technological solutions, this recommendation is rudimentary. Never leave a mobile device unattended. Firms should put in place some level of mobile device management (MDM) software that can initiate actions if a laptop, phone, or tablet is ever lost or stolen.

Secure Connections Are a Must for Security

Connections to your cloud services and to your in-office server should always be secure. Never use a public wireless network connection. That is akin to swimming with the sharks while carrying live bait. Your sales management team must mandate that all communications with laptops and phones must be done via virtual private networks secured with multifactor-authentication and that all email communications must be encrypted.

Access to Key Data Should Be Limited

The sales team carries with them a host of confidential information including pricing and promotional materials. They usually also have an incredible amount of information about their clients or prospects on their machines and devices. Policies should be put in place and enforced for the sales team to minimize exposure of this information. Typically, firms use some type of customer relationship management (CRM) software to manage the sales side of the business. Access to and use of this software should be managed and restricted only to those who need to know.

Cut the Chatter

Your sales team should watch what they say and where they say it. Beware that in public spaces where salespeople congregate and travel, there are plenty of people around ready to listen and record information that will help them breach your sales team’s privacy and organization.

Security Trumps Convenience

Sales folks move fast to get things done. That is a great trait that benefits the organization. But when it comes to keeping data secure and confidential, these traits could be their greatest shortcoming. Keep security awareness high and never dance with the devil by trading convenience for security. If you do, it could be your last dance.
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