Everyone knows that an eight-hour work day rarely equates to eight hours of work. And now that everyone has access to infinite streaming media on their devices, there is an enticing distraction around at all times.

It’s likely that employees are streaming audio and video is most offices. It’s also likely that this isn’t a big productivity problem. After all, we haven’t seen the economy collapse in the wake of Netflix. But even if streaming media isn’t a debilitating distraction, could it be a cybersecurity risk?

The shorter answer is no, but maybe. Streaming media does create some minor security concerns. And if streaming is eating up too much bandwidth it could compromise network performance. But in spite of these concerns, streaming media is far safer than the alternatives.

Without streaming, employees would have to download video and audio files, which is much worse. It is very hard to tell what these files actually contain. It’s also very easy to make them look authentic and trustworthy. And when someone on a corporate network authorizes a download it typically bypasses standard security measures.

Most people know to be suspicious of online downloads. The problem is that idle hands and mid-day boredom are powerful motivators. Employees eager for some entertainment are more likely to download a file even if there are red flags. It might only be a problem rarely, but it only takes one bad download to cause a major cyber incident.

Companies are unlikely to endorse streaming outright, but they shouldn’t see Netflix security as a threat. What is cause for concern is the work devices that are doing the streaming. It could be a desktop, but it’s more likely to be a tablet, phone, or laptop that travels in and out of the office.

  • The proliferation of mobile devices in business has a created a whole new category of cybersecurity concerns. These devices are full of sensitive information, have weaker built-in security, and are highly vulnerable to loss. There have been more than a few high-profile breaches that have resulted from a single lost device.
  • Since you’re no longer worried about streaming security, learn about the best practices for securing mobile work devices:
  • Create an Inventory – It’s impossible to secure all mobile devices until you know how many exist. Take an inventory of makes and models of phones and tablets but also printers, fax machines, and any other network-connected devices.
  • Practice Mobile Device Management – This is a combination of internal policies and technical tools designed to improve mobile security. The process should be scalable to incorporate growing numbers of devices and respond to new threats.
  • Monitor Actively – There are dozens of different cyberattacks designed specifically to target mobile devices. Companies should monitor for threats in real-time and search for vulnerabilities actively. It may not be possible to block all threats but identifying them quickly and mitigating the damage are also priorities.
  •  Make Access Difficult – If and when a device does fall into the wrong hands it’s essential to make accessing it difficult. Upgrade security with two-factor authentication, timed lock out, remote data destruction and other fail safes.

If you’re concerned about streaming your instincts are in the right place. YouTube may not be a major threat, but there are countless unfamiliar types of cyberattacks that are. It is never a smart strategy for companies to assume they are secure. Rather, they must treat the risk seriously and search for new vulnerabilities constantly. Don’t focus on distractions, focus on devices instead.