Security solutions used in many organizations include data encryption, anti-virus software, and so on. These security solutions are put in place to stop the activities of cybercriminals. All these tools play an important part in improving IT security, however, surprisingly minimal attention is paid to preventing one of the biggest threats to security in your organization- Employees.
A data breach will most likely occur in an organization from employees’ activities such as misplacing a work device or inadvertently providing sensitive information to cyber criminals.
In a 2019 Egress Insider Data Breach survey, many respondents mentioned that employees would most likely cause a data breach in the following year. Unfortunately, many organizations commit to providing resources to stop cyberattacks but are less attentive to the activities of employees.
Let’s discuss why your employees may be your biggest cyberthreat and how you can fix it.
Ways That Your Employees Increase Cyberthreat Risk
The use of an unsecured network
Your employees may not even realize that they shouldn’t be using an unsecured network for a business meeting. This could include public Wi-Fi networks in an airport or café. Most times, this type of connection does not encrypt your data. Thus, when it falls into the wrong hands, it makes your data vulnerable.
Also, you may unintentionally leak your passwords or even sensitive information when using unsecured networks to access your emails and social media accounts.
Keeping sensitive data
Your employees may favor storing sensitive data on external hard drives or printing it out to an unfamiliar device.
Many data privacy regulations (such as HIPAA) are in place to ensure that sensitive data are well-protected at all costs. However, when your employees store essential data on a portable device, it is exposed to all sorts of risks.
Installing applications or programs
Some free applications found online are filled with malware. Likewise, a legitimate app may have spotty security and be open to breaches. Getting applications or programs from trusted sources is important. This is because they are constantly checked to ensure they are malware-free.
Such applications can cause many unpleasant activities, such as stealing your data, leaking passwords, and infecting other essential devices on your network. To prevent this, you should have a cloud app use policy in place that restricts the applications employees are allowed to install on work devices or use online for business activities.
Internet of Things (IoT)
A lot of companies make use of various devices that are all connected to a network. Most of these devices are used in carrying out day-to-day operational activities.
For instance, a company can have various machines such as cleaning, labeling, and so on connected to a particular Wi-Fi network. An uninformed employee may attach a work device to this Wi-Fi and then download an infected application.
This paves the way for a DDoS attack on not only the work device but every connection made on the network. Unfortunately, this can cause the organization to halt its production and incur avoidable costs.
Lack of security awareness training
Your employees may not have the appropriate training to help them protect the organization from cybercriminals. It’s important that employees know what they should do and what they shouldn’t do when it comes to data handling, password security, and other cybersecurity-related activities.
Organizations must map out time to properly enlighten employees with cybersecurity training. This will prepare them on how to recognize phishing emails and the right strategies to employ to defend not only themselves but the organization as well.
If your employees do not know about the importance of updating software, they will be less attentive to it. Organizations need to update their software regularly. The essence of updating and upgrading your systems periodically is not only to modify the program’s design but also to include security updates that will protect the programs from hackers.
How To Stop Your Employees from Being Cyberthreats
- The use of VPN: You should encourage your employees to always use a Virtual Private Network (VPN) to protect themselves from using an unsecured network when in a public place.
- Protecting data: Employees should be taught how to protect data. This includes the use of strong passwords. It would help if you also informed your employees about how they can securely access, store and delete data.
- Train employees: Your employees can only protect the organization when they are taught cybersecurity measures. These include recognizing phishing emails, when to report to IT, and the appropriate ways to download applications on devices.
Get Help Improving Your Team’s Cybersecurity Awareness
No doubt, your employees will pose a security risk for your organization. But this can be reduced when they are taught to favor cybersecurity practices.
Need help in creating cybersecurity awareness training for your employees? Contact Connect2Geek to help you enforce these practices in your organization and protect your sensitive information. Call 208-468-4323.