Empower employees to strengthen cyber defenses

Empower employees to strengthen cyber defenses

When discussing the cause of cybercrime, we typically think of infiltration by external intruders — criminal hackers seeking to steal, compromise, or hold for ransom important business data.

Concern over external hackers is well founded, as new malware samples are created by the day (reaching 38.48 million new samples in April 2020), and new attacks occur at a rate of one every 39 seconds. At a minimum, businesses proactively invest in antivirus software, deploy firewalls, and verify authentication as protection to avert cyberattack.

These basic cybersecurity measures concentrate on protecting infrastructure, however, and do not focus on the human element. Intruders are ruthless (and increasingly sophisticated) in attempts to breach systems, and employees may inadvertently help facilitate exploits.

Poor security habits

Data breaches may result from human error or weak security protocols. Poor habits can range from unsophisticated passwords to accidentally clicking on suspicious email links or logging in to unsecured, untrustworthy websites. Falling victim to a phishing scam or visiting a risky website often results in unknowingly downloading malware or ransomware, which jeopardizes personal and company data. Spearfishing targets the “C” suite and has been more effective than many executives would like to admit.

In addition to common social engineering attacks, password management is a common cause for system intrusion because many employees rely on the same recycled password (or two), while using words that are short and easy to remember.

Though we all are susceptible to making mistakes, careless behaviors increase the risk of exposing confidential business and client information to being stolen or compromised.

Lost (or stolen) devices

Security breaches can result from lost or stolen mobile devices. Alarming statistics by Channel Pro Network reflect that a laptop is stolen every 53 seconds, 70 million smartphones are lost each year, and 4.3% of company-provided smartphones are either lost or stolen annually. Many employees admit to leaving computers unlocked and unattended, which provides hackers easy access to company applications and data.

To minimize cyber risk, establish protocols for strong passwords and multi-factor authentication to secure devices. Additionally, register employee devices in a centralized endpoint management system to monitor the security of company devices, set access restrictions, and wipe lost or stolen devices.

Equipping employees

Transform employees to function as advocates for cybersecurity defense by offering continuous, thorough training and increased security awareness. The investment of time in workforce education is worth the effort.

Training programs should extend beyond the typical PowerPoint presentation to effectively engage and educate team members about security issues. Training should be interactive, practical, and possibly even incentivized.

Equip employees with the skills to identify social engineering tactics through phishing simulations, or test security practices and incident response methods through simulated attacks. Gamify the security education process to keep employees excited and vested in the process. By highlighting the importance of cyber risk through engaging, communicative ways, employees learn to treat cybersecurity awareness as a necessary culture rather than a restrictive set of policies.

Ensuring a proactive (rather than reactive) approach

When fostering effective security habits among team members, take a proactive rather than reactive approach to cyber protection. Don’t wait for a simple mistake or uneducated habit to allow malicious actors to access corporate data. Instead, implement strategies for worst-case scenarios. With preemptive security measures, the risk of data exposure is significantly reduced.

Having a premeditated response plan to mitigate and resolve threats at a faster rate minimizes further damage if a breach occurs. Rigorously test a cybersecurity plan because new threats, improved practices, and updated cybersecurity solutions continuously emerge.

Florida is one of the most frequent victims of cybercrime, with compromised business emails as the leading cause of data breaches. Protect your business today with Roebuck Technologies’ comprehensive security solutions, complete with phishing simulations to keep workers on their toes. Our multilayered approach to security ensures your data is in good hands. Get in touch today to get started.

Doug Coleman

Doug Coleman

Chief Operating Officer

Doug possesses over 20 years of expertise in corporate finance, information systems, logistics, supply chain management and competitive strategies. He has served in executive management not only for The Roebuck Group, but also Commercial Carrier Corporation, a nationwide transportation and logistics provider. Additionally, he served in senior management at Vology, a global value-added reseller of technology solutions. Doug earned his Bachelor of Science in Chemical Engineering and Master of Business Administration degrees from the University of Florida as well as a Juris Doctorate degree from Stetson University College of Law.