Every organization in the world is vulnerable to cybersecurity breaches, whether through data loss, brute force attacks, or malicious emails. You might be surprised to learn that your employees are one of the biggest risk factors for exposing your company's sensitive data to malicious actors.
Employee cybersecurity is one area of your business that must be taken seriously. They are usually the victims of cyber-attacks simply due to being unaware of the dangers. An employee can cause your business serious damage with one careless click on the wrong link. Small businesses can’t afford the financial and reputational consequences of cyber-attacks so it is important to know the ways your employees can compromise security and what to do about it.
Weak password management
Employees commonly reuse passwords across different sites or use simple passwords that are easy to memorize but simple to guess. It may seem like a smart way to save time or avoid forgetting passwords, but it's the same as flagging hackers that your systems are open for business. Using brute force attacks, hackers may gain access to your employee's other accounts and therefore steal confidential business data.
Make passwords strong and less vulnerable:
- Use long passwords
- Include a mixture of numbers, letters, cases, and symbols
- Enable multi-factor authentication
- Use a password generator
- Use a password manager to store passwords to avoid same-use of passwords
- Enforce the use of passwords on all devices used to access business data
Scam emails used to be quite easy to identify as fakes, but today phishing emails are so well disguised as to elude detection. Phishing emails deceive recipients into believing they are genuine, but when clicked, they permit cybercriminals to access devices and data. Phishing emails often appear to be from reputable organizations, but they have misspelled names or deceptive URLs or make grandiose offers of assistance or promotions.
Ensure employees regularly take part in security awareness programs that include training modules on phishing attacks and keep them updated on new scams as they occur.
Access social media
Employees may use their company's internet to browse the internet or check their social media accounts, resulting in a higher likelihood of accessing websites that contain malware or clickbait, which in turn leads users to malicious websites to download harmful content. Threat actors may infiltrate networks and systems using more sophisticated strategies, making it difficult to detect malicious activity.
Always ensure your business network is protected, deploy endpoint protection on company devices, and train employees to use the internet securely.
Out-of-date security patches are a serious problem. Patches are used to fix specific security issues in a software application or operating system, yet many employees delay downloading the patch when asked to. This leaves your network and systems wide open for malicious actors to exploit weaknesses.
Use of BYOD
The use of personal mobile devices for work purposes has been advantageous over the last few years, but it comes at a security cost. Personal devices may be more susceptible to cyber-attacks, and they may be sold or discarded in an insecure manner. Using personal devices on your corporate network may cause malicious software to spread across the company, increasing the risk.
Your business network should be monitored to identify traffic and users if employees need to use their own devices. Employees should also use multi-factor authentication for their laptops and phones for work-related activities.
Unsecured network access
There is little doubt that utilizing public Wi-Fi when working remotely is risky, particularly if company information is at stake. Hackers may intercept or steal company data through public Wi-Fi networks, which are among the most popular methods to access public and private devices. If you don't invest in network security, you will become an easy target. A VPN works as a secured tunnel to company resources by encrypting your data.
The cloud is an increasingly popular option for storing information because it is accessible, efficient, and flexible. Using services such as Dropbox, which have not been authorized by the IT department, to store business-related data is a disaster in the making. Using an authorized cloud for data storage and collaboration will decrease the risk of privacy violations and teaches employees to behave more responsibly.
Downloading unsafe content
Employees should be careful when downloading files or applications because they may unintentionally introduce new vulnerabilities such as malware that attackers could exploit. If your network administrator doesn’t have full control over the devices your employees are using, restrict what employees are allowed to install, because software is granted access to almost every aspect of a computer's functioning after installation.
Poor security culture
Most employees don't set out to expose their company to cybersecurity threats or data breaches; these incidents typically occur as a result of a lack of security awareness. Ensure your employees are well informed about security threats and how they can take responsibility for reducing them by providing cybersecurity awareness training across your organization. Ensure security awareness training programs are comprehensive, engaging, and relevant to build a strong security culture in your organization.
Ensure your business security is top of mind
Maintaining a strong security culture is crucial in mitigating the risks and challenges posed by employees to your business. It's also vital to take protective measures to monitor networks and devices. The ThreatAdvice Breach Prevention Platform provides comprehensive cybersecurity for your company through a robust cybersecurity employee awareness program and continuous vulnerability scanning. Contact the security experts at ThreatAdvice and protect your greatest assets today.