You’ve heard me say it before: humans are the biggest threat to your security! I believe that employees have the best intentions for company security. Still, I’m willing to bet if you asked your employees what their role is in company cybersecurity, they probably won’t have a detailed answer for you. That’s because cybersecurity is a lot more complex than most people want to admit. The problem here is that employees are human beings, and humans are not perfect. Human error must always be accounted for when it comes to your security measures.
We are all trying to navigate this new post-pandemic world. Businesses are being run differently, more employees are working remotely, and all of our devices are interconnected more than ever before. Unfortunately, when working from home it’s unavoidable that unexpected distractions will arise, but this opens the door for careless mistakes—and if hackers are looking for a weakness to exploit, chances are, they will find it.
Putting upgraded software security measures in place is a great step in safeguarding your information, but first, you need to start with the human element—employees. More than half of the cyber-attacks we see at ReachOut Technology are caused by uneducated or irresponsible employees. Sometimes the simplest oversights can turn out to be the most costly. These four common employee mistakes can cost you, big time!
Failure to Upgrade Software
How many times do you think your employees have seen the updates available bubble pop up on their screen and hit the “remind me later” button? When this happens, it is most likely a lack of employee education on the significance of keeping their software up to date. Updates have specific features to ensure ongoing security compliance and even have increased safety features and bug fixes. For example, many Windows 10-compatible programs are built specifically with current cyber security regulations in mind.
Weak Password Choice
Creating a strong, complicated password may seem like a no-brainer, but it’s probably anything but to many members of your team. I can’t tell you how many times employees using duplicate passwords across their private and professional systems has played a part in a security breach.
As a business owner, you have worked incredibly hard to build what you have and struggled to maintain and scale your business. Something as small as an employee creating a weak or duplicate password shouldn’t be something that could potentially take down your life’s work.
You should not only train your staff on safe password practices but implement software that enforces a mandatory password change at least once a quarter. Passwords should contain a mix of letters, numbers and symbols, that do not create a real word. These are simple changes but will make all the difference to decrease your odds of being an easy target.
It’s also important to educate employees on the safe storage of their passwords. What’s the point of having a complex, hard-to-crack password if it’s hand written on a sticky note posted on the computer monitor or saved in a google doc that others in the company can access.
Handling Sensitive Data Irresponsibly
Just because you are meticulous about security and see potential weaknesses before they happen doesn’t mean your employees will. It’s easy for employees to get distracted and forget to lock their screen or accidentally take home a USB drive full of confidential information from their afternoon meeting as they rush out the door to catch the train. Can you imagine what would happen if that USB drive fell out of their pocket on the train and into the wrong hands? If a competitor found it, or even worse, a criminal, it could mean catastrophe for your business.
Forgetting to shred hard copies of documents containing your customers’ data may seem like a small mistake, but it can be incredibly costly. Situations like these happen every day and easily can be prevented by continuously teaching employees what qualifies as sensitive data and providing compliance training regularly.
Insufficient Cybersecurity Knowledge
When new employees are hired at most companies, the first thing they do is going through a new hire training to learn about the organization, rules, procedures, and how to do their job. Most businesses forget to include rigorous cybersecurity training that provides clear guidelines about security policies—from using strong passwords to responding to potential phishing attempts. But providing training isn’t enough; you need to have consequences for ignoring these policies and make sure employees are aware of them.
If you haven’t invested in training your current employees on appropriate security measures. In that case, it isn’t too late—partner with an MSP that can determine your unique needs and create a comprehensive cybersecurity training course for your team. Keep in mind that employees will require follow-up training because cybersecurity isn’t a one-time thing. Criminals are always finding new and creative ways to bypass your systems with clickbait or taking advantage of employee carelessness, so you and your team need to stay vigilant about training and security practices.
Technology alone can’t keep up with the constantly changing tactics hackers are using, which is why human security is so important in today’s business climate. At ReachOut Technology, we offer a Dark Web Scan to scour the internet far and wide in search of any leaked private information. If you are concerned one of your employees may have made one of these four mistakes, partner with us today. If we find you have been a victim of a breach, we will work with you step by step to help mitigate the resulting damage and help safeguard your company for the future.