4 Ways Your Employees Can Weaken Your Security Defenses

Cybersecurity may start with implementing measures like a firewall, antivirus software, two-factor authentication and spam filters, but it doesn’t stop there. Server and network security measures can only go so far. Cybercriminals don’t need to engineer a complex and technical method to gain access to your business’s infrastructure. Sometimes, all they need to do is lure a gullible or distracted employee into clicking on a link or opening an attachment.

Educating your staff on cybersecurity awareness is an essential component of your business’s security. Believe it or not, employee negligence is a primary cause of data breaches and with these breaches costing an average $3.92 million, you simply must factor in the role your employees play. Cybersecurity is most effective when it’s a team effort, especially in the workplace!

Here are four ways your employees could be putting your business at risk and what to do about it:

1.) Poor Password Management

Sometimes, a password is the only door between a cybercriminal and your business’s information. What if that door could be easily broken into or broken down? There are several programs that attackers use to guess or crack passwords. If your employees aren’t implementing the best practices for password management, your business could be in danger of a cyberattack.

Actions such as updating passwords every month, using different passwords for different logins and including a combination of characters in your password are just a few security measures you can enforce today. Make sure your employees are taking password security seriously. Don’t let a weak password be your downfall!

2.) Failure to Recognize Spear-Phishing

Spear-phishing is when a cybercriminal sends fraudulent emails that appear to be from a trusted sender in order to trick targeted individuals into revealing confidential information or performing an action that seems legitimate.

Spear phishing is usually extremely successful because the scammers spend a lot of time researching their target and specially crafting the information they send to them, making it more believable.

Being able to identify these phishing emails is the first line of defense. It’s essential to provide employee training on what to look for in these emails because cybercriminals can easily make them look legit on the surface. Take a look at KnowBe4’s red-flag guide that lays out different aspects of a phishing email to be wary of.

3.) Being Overly Social on Social Media

As mentioned above, cybercriminals do their research. They social engineer their target before an attack to better craft the information they send them. In today’s day and age, social media is a popular tool that attackers use to gather information about their potential victim.

Small details that employees post online – like names of pets or important dates – can be a big hint for cybercriminals, leading to a cracked password.

Now, we’re not saying that your employees should immediately terminate all of their social media accounts, but it is necessary to express the concern of oversharing on social media and consider implementing a social media policy. Keeping accounts private, being wary about friend/follow requests, avoiding oversharing and not mentioning the name of your company are just a few ways your employees can do their part in protecting your business online.

4.) Compromising Sensitive Information

Though most of the time it’s accidental, employees can pose cybersecurity risks by giving unauthorized individuals access to sensitive information. Scenarios like walking away from an unlocked computer/device and/or leaving passwords written down to be easily found pose a huge threat not only to the company but to themselves.

Similarly, employees at businesses that store private client information – like credit card or banking information, social security numbers or account passwords – must be extremely vigilant in protecting it.

Companies should develop strict security policies and communicate them to their employees to keep this sensitive information secure.

Although a weak password or gullible employee may not pose an immediate threat to your company, any security oversight can lead to disastrous results at a moment’s notice. Act holistically when it comes to protecting your business infrastructure, devices and data.

Not only will Elevated Tech confidently secure and monitor your systems to proactively diagnose and patch vulnerabilities before they become a threat, but we will also provide cybersecurity training to you and your employees to better protect your business. Contact us today and we’ll draw up your organizations security game plan. This is a team effort, remember?!

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