How Your Employees Can Guard Against Cybercrime
One lesson from the coronavirus pandemic is that the world is connected in ways most of us never really understood. The reality of it in our daily lives brings home what IT professionals have known for a long time about computer viruses and the importance of protection against attacks by cyberthreats. With global connectivity, it’s more critical than ever to have cloud security that keeps your business as safe as possible from the operational and economic damage that can be caused by ransomware and other malware intrusions.
Even with a significant security program in place, there’s still a gap in your business’ online safety. And it will probably surprise you to know that it’s caused by your employees. It’s been reported that 90 percent of breaches are the result of human error, with most of those starting simply with email.
Your entire network can be compromised as easily as one employee unknowingly downloading an infected file. It doesn’t have to happen on a company device, either. One person trying to get a little work done on his or her smartphone can start a whole chain of destructive events.
Particularly during this time when members of your staff might be working from home and may have become more casual about following protocols, it’s a very good idea to remind them of best practices to follow in order to protect your company and its data.
In the simplest terms, here’s what your employees need to remember:
Avoid Insecure Wi-Fi
Even during normal times, your employees may be working at least part time from remote locations and are extremely vulnerable when using free public Wi-Fi networks that are unsecured and easily intercepted. If your company has its own virtual private network (VPN), then it is essential that your staff members use it for internet communications on all their devices. If not, then they should disable Wi-Fi access by default and connect only to reputable Wi-Fi hotspots.
Be Cautious of Email Traps
The absolute rule to follow is never to click on links that are sent from unknown sources or that appear in pop-up windows or other unsolicited communications. Phishing is ubiquitous and has become even more creatively deceptive. Even if a download or link is received from a company you do business with, employees should check the originating URL and “reply to” address for irregular spellings or inconsistencies. If there’s a concern as to the legitimacy of the correspondence, employees should verify it by contacting the source directly.
Safeguard Company Data
People know that they need to be careful about revealing their own personal banking, credit card and social security account numbers online, and they should be just as cautious about protecting your sensitive business information. Sales figures and intellectual property, whether written or graphic, should be shared selectively, keeping in mind that hackers are always a possibility.
Don’t Be As Social On Social Media
Social media is not the place to discuss your company’s business. People tend to drop their guard on social media sites, and it’s not uncommon for younger employees in particular to casually give out even the most personal details of their lives; information that can be accessed and passed along by unknown numbers of equally unknown people. It might take some reinforcing to impress upon them the potential dangers to your business of having even what might like seem like non-sensitive information spread to all those folks who may or may not be friends.
Follow Company Protocols
Remind your staff of the importance of complying with your company’s rules and procedures regarding backing up files, installing security updates, and creating and using unique and complex passwords as well as changing those passwords routinely. It doesn’t matter what size your company is. Typically, the primary target of cybercriminals may be large corporations, but small businesses are attacked too, often because they’re assumed to have less stringent security in place, making them easier to hack.
Include All Personal Devices
Even if employees have got company-supplied laptops or smartphones, it’s not uncommon for them to receive and pass information via their own devices, so they need to maintain firewalls and anti-malware software on all of their personal electronic devices, and use the same security precautions at home as they do in the office.
You won’t be eliminating all risk, but making sure your employees are well-educated and defended will make it at least less likely that your business will be hit by cybercrime.