There is a widely accepted adage in the information security industry - the user is always the weakest link.
It does not matter if your company's security software and protocols are well designed. If your employees are improperly trained, then you are still vulnerable.
Cybercrime is on the rise with the average data breach costing U.S. companies $7.3 million. This cost makes it more important than ever to understand the risks of cyberattacks.
Keep reading to find out steps you can take to harden your employees against these kinds of threats.
Bad Actors, Negligence, and Carelessness
The first step in preventing cyber threats is understanding your vulnerabilities. These include weaknesses in software and employee training.
Software vulnerabilities include backdoors, exploits, and other flaws. These flaws can allow hackers to access your company’s data illicitly. Once they have found a way in, then it is easy for them to wreak havoc. This reality is the reason that it is so important to update your software and invest in new security measures as part of your IT strategy.
On the user side, you must watch out for several different issues. The most dangerous to your company is a bad actor with privileged access. An insider with their own agenda knows what is most valuable within your data and can simply access it using their credentials.
They can install malware, steal client information, and even siphon off company funds digitally.
These actions do not tell the whole story though. Never underestimate the damage that a user can cause through simple carelessness. For every high-end security system, there is a network admin with a weak password. There are plenty of examples of hackers using social engineering to fool employees into giving them access.
Kevin Mitnick, one of the most famous hackers of all time, accomplished his most successful hacks using social engineering. This breach is often done by simply contacting customer-facing employees and pretending that they are supposed to have access. They use publicly available information to trick your employees. This process gives them access to privileged information.
It is much easier to upgrade your security software than it is to instill the proper security mindset into employees but both are critical to protect your company.
The most important thing you can do to prevent a massive cyberattack is to educate your employees. Go over the major threats with them and teach them effective cybersecurity habits.
The most important aspects of cybersecurity to instill into your employees include:
- Phishing email prevention
- Strong passwords
- Data encryption protocols
- Secure use of public WiFi
By exploring these issues early and often in your employment process, then you make it much less likely that you will become the victim of a cyberattack. Employee training can be difficult, but it is certainly better than a major data breach.
Consider Hiring an Expert
Before you have your IT department spend time and resources developing in-house security capabilities, consider the benefits of an outside contractor. An expert firm provides years of experience and programs that are ready to be implemented on very short notice.
If you would like to learn more about preventing cyberattacks, check out our managed security solutions.
Sagacent Technologies offers technology management and support, including proactive/preventative maintenance, onsite and offsite data back-ups, network and security audits, mobility solutions, disaster planning and emergency business resumption services. The company serves clients of 10 to 150 employees within the Silicon Valley region.