When it comes to cybersecurity, your biggest weakness could be something that isn’t part of your hardware or software protection package at all: your staff. Your employees can be a liability if they are not properly trained on how to help keep your business secure.
In fact, employees are the primary cause of data breaches, according to a 2019 industry report by Shred-it. A survey revealed that 53% of 100 executives surveyed and 28% of 1,000 small business owners included in the study stated that human error or accidental loss was responsible for a data breach in their company.
Other studies have shown much higher numbers for data breaches caused by employees. Kaspersky Lab stated that roughly nine out of ten small businesses that suffered data breaches credited part of the breach to social engineering attacks.
There are many powerful technologies that can be used to help protect companies. However, no matter which strategies you use, there will always be a human element involved in cybersecurity, and therefore, there is always a potential for human error.
Fortunately, your employees don’t have to be a risk to your company. With the right training and cybersecurity services, you can enable them to become a cybersecurity asset. Here’s how to make that happen:
Provide Training on Email, Social Media, and Internet Use
Employees should be taught the fundamentals of secure use of email, social media, and general internet use. It’s important not to take for granted what your employees do or don’t know, even if they have grown up using computers and the internet. They should receive training to help them recognize any suspicious activity, including suspicious emails or links.
Some of the simple tasks that employees should be taught to do include:
- Double-checking the sender’s name and email address on emails to prevent phishing
- Hovering the mouse over links to check where they lead before clicking on them
- Paying attention to overall email format to check for any differences to the usual style
- Not sending personal information to unverified sources
- Logging in to trusted companies through their main site instead of through links sent in emails
Teach Password Security
Practicing good password security is a basic and vital part of maintaining cybersecurity. Employees should use strong passwords that use multiple character types and longer “passphrases” instead of simple words.
Dictionary attacks are a common form of cyber attack which attempt to guess your password by using common words, so an easy way to thwart this type of attack is not using words found in the dictionary, but instead combining multiple words together or using a random combination of letters and numbers.
It can be tempting for employees to use the same password for multiple logins so they don’t have to remember multiple passwords, but this is another easy way to give hackers access to your system. If they gain access to one of your passwords, they’ll be able to log into multiple sites or programs.
Using a secure password manager can provide a helpful alternative. Employees should also be cautioned against writing passwords down or sending them through insecure channels. You can utilize technology in your own systems to require employees to choose complex passwords, change their passwords regularly, and utilize two-factor authentication, which provides another layer of security.
In Case of Emergency
What happens when a data breach does occur or an employee spots something suspicious? It’s crucial that employees know who they should contact, especially if they think there has already been a data breach.
The best way to test that employees know how they should respond in such a situation is to run practice live attack simulations. These give you the opportunity to evaluate your employees’ readiness and train them on how to act and respond. Simulations will allow you to recognize any vulnerable areas so that you can focus your training training and change your processes accordingly.
Get Help with a Comprehensive Plan
A carefully designed cybersecurity plan covering both technical and human resources will help any business to maintain cybersecurity. A Managed Service Provider can help you to design a custom plan that meets all of your security needs and covers hardware, software, and employee safety. Not only can you create an initial plan that’s specific to your needs, your service provider will keep it up-to-date with current trends and threats so that you’re always prepared.
When staff are well-trained and understand how to help protect your business, they can become an efficient first line of defense instead of a vulnerability. Make your staff your most important cybersecurity asset with the help of a managed IT service provider. As you provide employees with the necessary training, they will play a key role in protecting your business.