You Must Teach Your Employees About These Cybersecurity Issues

Every employer will agree – the backbone of a successful business is a great group of employees. Whether you are managing a smaller group of professionals or multiple divisions across the country or even the world, you need to take care of them. This includes educating them and raising cyber awareness. Since more and more integral parts of every business are moving online, it is no longer enough to remind your employees to lock the door on their way out or to lock the computer when not in use. While there are still many infections that are targeted at "home users," more and more of them are moving towards larger waters. Nowadays, it is not uncommon to hear of malware targeting healthcare and government institutions, international banks, shipping companies, etc. Unfortunately, cyber criminals do not always choose who they hit, and so you need to be prepared, and the first thing you must do is teach employees about cybersecurity at work.

Outdated software = flaws and vulnerabilities

If you use any kind of software at your workplace, there are several things to consider. Is your software legal? Is the software secure? Have you downloaded all necessary updates? Hopefully, the software you use is legitimate, and you do not need to worry about the support that can be provided by the developer. Only legitimate software can receive the latest updates on time. If you do not update software, the security vulnerabilities that are exposed cannot be patched, and that means that the software becomes an easy target for cyber attackers. Flaws and vulnerabilities can be used to infiltrate and execute malware without the knowledge of the system's owner. The same applies to servers and websites that you might have set up to promote your business. If the website is not secured, existing vulnerabilities could be used to inject malicious code and then expose the visitors of the said website to malware. Needless to say, it is one thing to have your internal system hacked, but it is a completely different thing to have your software and your websites exposing your customers to malware. That could ruin your reputation.

Besides teaching employees about cybersecurity regarding outdated software, you also want to warn them about the dangers of installing company-unrelated software. Your employees might install media players (e.g., iTunes, Spotify) and various other applications that might be unrelated to work. Whether or not you prohibit the installation of such software is your personal decision, but if you permit it, you need to remind your employees that they need to install legitimate software from legitimate and trusted websites. Unreliable downloaders could be used for the infiltration of malware, and you do not want that. What if your employees are working from home using home computers? If that is the case, you must remind them that cybersecurity at work and at home must be taken seriously.

Poor data management = data security issues

Do you store users'/customers' data? Are you handling sensitive and confidential files? Whether you are an owner of a coffee house or a big IT company, you need to make sure that all data and files are backed up. As you might know if you are up-to-date with risks related to cybersecurity at work, ransomware is on the rise. This kind of malware can invade the system using security vulnerabilities and flaws, and, once executed, it can immediately encrypt all files. When they are encrypted, you cannot open them, and the creator introduces you to a message demanding a payment in return for a decryption tool. The ransoms can be huge, and, unfortunately, most victims do not get anything after the payment. This is a huge issue if you do not have backups for your personal data. On the other hand, if backups exist, there is no need to panic because files can be restored. In this case, the biggest issue you need to deal with is overall security. How did this malware get in? And how can you fix the security issue? If you care about cybersecurity at work, you will teach your employees to back up all important data using the chosen backup method.

Malware is not the only threat to your data. Computers and servers crash, and they can be damaged. As long as data is backed up, these things cannot affect it, unless hackers find a way to breach it. Data breaches are pretty common, and even the biggest companies in the world (e.g., Facebook, Sears, or Adidas) cannot seem to evade them. Customers' trust declines when data breaches occur, so you must make sure that you teach employees about cybersecurity in terms of protecting data and backing it up safely.

Spam email = cyber attacks

Depending on the business you are running, you might be communicating with your employees via email a lot. This might be more important to those who have larger groups of people to manage, but even if you have one employee, you still need to think about the dangers that might lie in the inbox. Have you discussed spam emails with the people who are working with you? You cannot ensure complete cybersecurity at work unless you ensure that employees know how to deal with spam and phishing emails. We have a comprehensive guide that explains how to avoid phishing scams, and we recommend reading it to learn more about the subject. The bottom line is that schemers and cyber attackers are smart, and they can create incredibly believable email messages that could potentially include malware-laden attachments and links to malicious websites. Educate your employees that they can help ensure cybersecurity at work if they refrain from opening emails that are not work-related and that are not sent from trusted people.

Weak passwords = easy access for attackers

Finally, we come to passwords. If you want to ensure cybersecurity at work, you must make sure that all passwords are appropriate. That doesn't mean that you cannot use profanity. That is up to you. What we mean is that your passwords need to be of a certain length, must include random symbols, numbers, and upper/lower-case letter combinations, and they should not include whole words. For example, if you use admin as your username and qwerty123 as your password, it is only a matter of time before someone hacks into your account. We cannot tell what kinds of privileges attackers could gain if they take over your accounts, but the damages could be severe. It is your duty to ensure that all systems and software are protected by reliable passwords, but if your employees have accounts that they manage, you want to make sure that they are not going the easy route and putting password as their password. Unfortunately, employees tend to do that because they do not care as much about cybersecurity at work as you do.

While you might be unable to go through every account that is used to manage your business or company, you can encourage your employees to create secure passwords and, consequently, strengthen cybersecurity at work. What you can do is implement a password manager, a tool that can help create passwords and then ensure that they are kept safely, so that no one could steal them and use them to take over and perform attacks. You do not even need to invest. Cyclonis Password Manager is a free password management tool that will help your employees create strong passwords (e.g., WV15anC3dmF1sws58). They will be encrypted and saved in a chosen vault to ensure their safety.

So, do you want to strengthen cybersecurity at work? If you do, you need to make sure you teach employees about cybersecurity, and encourage them to educate themselves on the topic to make sure that cyber attackers cannot take over and hijack your business, steal confidential data, or even blackmail you.

October 16, 2018

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