In the world of cybercrime, “the bad guys” prey on the most vulnerable. It’s not going to be your business’s IT leader whose computer is hacked; it will be the employee on the ground floor. A Global Information Security survey conducted by EY showed that 44% of executives deem employees the greatest cyber security vulnerability in their organization.
The survey also revealed that 56% of businesses consider employees the most likely source of a cyber-attack. Not everyone in your organization is knowledgeable when it comes to basic cyber security practices. This is why organizations should be responsible for training their staff in the best cyber security practices. Listed below are five cyber security basics that every business employee should learn.
Effective Password Management
Statistics show that 63% of data breaches involve weak or stolen passwords. With this in mind, you should consider creating strong passwords as your first step to security. Unfortunately, many people are guilty of creating passwords based on birthdays, anniversaries or other significant dates.
Include a requirement that every employee create strong passwords, which should include a combination of uppercase and lowercase letters, symbols, and numbers. Insist that they change their password every 45 to 90 days and never use the same password on different sites.
Protecting Sensitive Data
Cyber criminals are usually after personal data, like email addresses, credit card data, customer names and social security numbers. This information may be safe when under your control, but the risk of it falling into the wrong hands is propagated when you share it through email.
There has to be certain protocol to be used when transferring confidential information. A secure file transfer system is a good example of a system that business owners should adopt to help them transfer information safely.
Using Wi-Fi Networks
As a result of the growing remote work trend, there’s an increase in the number of employees who do their work from their homes, coffee shops, etc. As a result, they often need to connect to hotspots. Unfortunately, using public Wi-Fi networks can be very dangerous.
Connecting your device to a public Wi-Fi network potentially opens up your data to anyone else on that network. The network could have been set up by hackers with intent to gain access to the user’s personal information.
In order to prevent business information falling into the wrong hands, you need to train your employees on the importance of using a VPN (virtual private network) which will encrypt all data being sent and received.
Recognizing Suspicious Activity
We all have received or know of someone who has received those pervasive emails claiming that “….you are the only living relative of an unfamiliar dead billionaire…” Even though one may tell that the email is a scam, not all phishing emails are so obvious. Some can be very convincing.
Raise awareness among your employees about common phishing emails they are likely to receive. Emphasize the importance of being watchful when it comes to emails that ask them to validate or confirm personal data by clicking on links. Such emails may lead to theft of vital business information.
Raising a Red Flag
Effective communication is part and parcel of any successful workplace. After training your employees on how to recognize potential cyber attacks, you need to explain the procedure to follow when they suspect an attack or notice any suspicious link, malware, adware and viruses.
Additionally, make them feel safe reporting issues that pose a potential threat to your business such as an accidental click, download of suspicious content or loss of devices that contain vital business data.
Cyber security should be a crucial area of concern for all business owners. Employees are one of the weakest links in a businesses’ cyber security system and are often the leading targets of hackers. Therefore, to prevent cyber-attacks and thwart would-be data thieves, make sure your employees are a part of your security solution.
Author: Alisiana Peters
Alisiana is a senior marketing coordinator at HiringThing, an award-winning online recruiting software provider dedicated to changing the way businesses hire talent. Questions? Contact HiringThing Marketing.