Hollywood films would have us believe that cyberattacks are elaborately planned and use expensive, sophisticated tools developed by hackers and geeks is sophisticated labs. But in real life, most hacks are nothing like that as the first steps cybercriminals take are to simply fool a human to gain access.
Phishing remains the primary way to attack businesses. A scammer sends an email that looks legitimate and an unsuspecting employee or business owner clicks on a malicious link. Once clicked, malware may be installed or they end up on a webpage that looks credible but is set up to gather their personal data.
Other potential entry ways into a businesses network include:
- A hacker might drop an infected thumb drive in the office parking lot of the target business – they need only one well-intentioned person to pick it up and plug it into the office system.
- A bad actor phones the business saying they represent a contractor and urgently need important credentials.
- A person walks into a business and while staff are distracted plugs in a device designed to steal passwords and other information on the network.
- Hackers alter the bank details on an invoice sent to you via email by one of your vendors – so you end up paying the bad guys instead of your trusted vendor.
Your cybersecurity is only as strong as its weakest link. In many cases, your employees are that weakest link. They are busy working hard, so they don’t stop to question things or they can be too trusting.
Educate Employees about Their Cybersecurity Role
Every business needs to educate employees about the part they play in cybersecurity. They expect it is IT’s role, someone else at work will handle it or they assume that the security software on their devices will prevent it. But in reality each individual has a role.
It can help to put the potential threat in personal terms. Help them to understand that they are not only protecting work data on the network and it’s not just client personal details: it is their names, addresses and tax numbers, too. Plus, it is how much they get paid, healthcare records, resumes and much more, which is exactly the kind of information hackers exploit in identity theft. That one hack can have a huge ripple effect across clients and staff.
There is also the chance that if your business suffers a breach or downtime, everyone could be out of the job as data breaches or hacks can destroy a business. Of course, the individual didn’t mean to do anything wrong, but their ill-advised action costs your company, which can mean downtime, lost productivity, damaged brand reputation, compliance issues, and more.
Cybersecurity Is An Ongoing Concern
It is also important that you do not treat cybersecurity training as a one-off. Running through a list of “do nots” in employee onboarding and then moving on is not going to work. Build cybersecurity literacy into your workplace culture.
Remind employees about strong passwords and thinking twice before sharing any sensitive data. It only takes a few moments to double check that a request is legitimate or that the email is correct.
Your business can also show the importance of employees taking responsibility by:
- adding multi-factor authentication for access to all online accounts.
- discussing cybersecurity in hiring processes;
- outlining policies and procedures in the handbook;
- reminding employees to regularly update and upgrade technology;
- limiting the ability to download and install unauthorised applications onto work devices;
- having a clear policy for people bringing in their own devices;
Ransomware threats are on the rise globally, cybercrime gangs are targeting any weakness, regardless of business size or industry. Enlist your employees in the ongoing fight against hackers.
Do you need help training employees or installing cybersecurity protections? Contact our IT experts to discuss policies and procedures your business can use. We know how to keep you free from threats and get your people engaged in the battle.