The fourth and final point is one we like to approach from our expertise in behavioral psychology. On security and privacy issues, such as e-mail, sending information to an unauthorized person and destroying sensitive documents at home, we often see that so-called “desire lines” are chosen.
Desire lines are trails that provide an alternative to official, paved routes. They slowly wear into the landscape as they are frequently used as alternative paths by pedestrians, cyclists or motorists – and thus only become more attractive to use.
How does that relate to working safely with information? Maarten Timmerman, director of Awareways: “Working securely is often more difficult than working non-securely, because it takes a bit of extra time. If you are busy or have an important deadline, for example, it can be very tempting to quickly cut short the ideal safe behavior – which takes just that little bit of extra effort– by taking the alternative route. For example, just a quick email instead of using the required route.”
In the case of a desire line, you often ignore the whole deliberate design of the infrastructure, of which road safety is always a part.
“With security measures, the importance of security and the conscious idea behind it also often seems like a distant concept, because the chances of things going wrong are small – right? And that might sometimes be true, because if you quickly use your private e-mail, that chance is indeed small. The problem, however, is that it’s not the chance of an incident, but the impact if it does go wrong…”
Additional reading materials: be sure to check out our checklist
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