Employees are a weak link in cybersecurity: How to protect your business
Wednesday, April 15, 2020
Estimates show that 90% of corporate data breaches in the cloud happen due to hacker attacks that target employees, according to a report from Kaspersky Lab. With many of them forced to work remotely during the quarantine, companies are now more vulnerable than ever.
Employee negligence is a great threat to business security. However, this particular risk is easy to control. There are many digital tools that can help protect organizations from data breaches. These tools and security systems don’t require big investments as cybersecurity starts with the right mindset of employees. That can be achieved through mandatory training.
Both small businesses and large organizations must focus on cybersecurity. All companies dealing with customer data or confidential information are vulnerable to cyberattacks. The difference is that big names usually have more data that hackers may want to steal. Meanwhile, small ones tend to lack security resources, thus making easier targets.
To protect your business from hacker attacks, you need to consider these common mistakes your employees might be making every day:
Using weak passwords.
Passwords play the most important role in protecting your business accounts and customers’ data. But people struggle to create unique passwords and keep forgetting them.
That's why they often use the same ones for different accounts, and your employees might be no exception. Weak and reused passwords are easy to hack. The best solution is to help your staff build a habit of using password managers. Passwords must be changed from time to time and shouldn’t be shared among co-workers.
Sharing unencrypted files.
Companies are at serious risk of data loss when their employees handle important documents without security in mind. The safest way to store and share files is encrypting them.
For example NordLocker is easy-to-use encryption software that adds an extra layer of security to data on a computer or in the cloud. In case of a breach, hackers will not be able to access your company’s information — they will only see undecipherable code.
Connecting to unsecured networks.
A vast majority of organizations use Wi-Fi networks. Although Wi-Fi gives staff greater mobility within the office, it also makes your business data more vulnerable to hacks. The best way to keep online traffic private is by using a virtual private network (VPN).
A VPN creates a secure encrypted tunnel that protects your connection from anyone trying to breach the system. It is also a must for secure remote connections. It allows employees to safely access their work accounts while traveling, working from home, or using public Wi-Fi.
Falling for phishing scams.
Phishing is one of the main reasons why your members of staff need cybersecurity training. Hackers may try to get sensitive information by faking emails from someone like your company’s CEO or Microsoft representatives. And they use very sophisticated methods for that.
Just one reckless click on a phishing link or one download of an infected attachment can compromise your entire system. Make sure your team is well educated on how to avoid clicking unsafe links or falling for phishing scams.
Ignoring software updates.
An average computer user tends to ignore the little pop-up windows that inform about new software updates. Keeping all software up to date is crucial for your company’s cybersecurity. That’s because updates often repair security flaws, fix or remove various bugs, add new features, and improve the existing ones. Having the latest software version means you are using the most secure version, too.
Posting work-related content online.
Employees posting online carelessly can leak sensitive business information. Consider Instagram pictures with workspace in the background, or Facebook status updates on upcoming business trips or closing important deals. Both reveal too much information that can be used to breach your organization’s security.
It is also a very common mistake during the current situation when people share images online of how their workspaces at home look like. A picture of a desktop with visible icons or open documents can reveal too much than intended. Businesses need to create social media and data privacy guidelines to prevent employees from sharing confidential information.
Connecting unsafe media storage devices to the company’s computers.
Your employee might insert a flash drive into their computer without knowing it is infected. These media storage devices might contain viruses and other malicious content. These could transfer to your network and compromise the company’s entire system.
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