Employees and Cyber Security Risks

All that Talk About Cyber Security

Today’s industry buzzword is Cyber-security. Almost every day, a story hits the news showcasing some sort of major company data breach. These breaches inevitably come with high costs to the companies that are victimized by these pesky acts. Companies are utilizing the newest technology and are making other significant investments to ensure their data is protected.

A Company’s Biggest Threat

Even with all of that, the biggest vulnerabilities that are not addressed are the company’s employees. Spending money on expensive software is needed, but it does not address the cyber threats that employees are exposed to daily. However, cyber risks targeting employees can be addresses and thwarted with proper training, education and by putting standardized compliance measures in place.

Intentional and Unintentional Acts

Improper employee conduct like data theft and fraud, for instance, are always a possible threat. Many organizations do their best to eliminate “bad apples” via extensive background checks. These sorts of intentional threats from dishonest staff do occasionally happen, however it is the unintentional acts of employees that are the more likely hazards a company will encounter. Preventative and comprehensive cyber security training aimed at front line employees, can help to mitigate a company’s risks greatly.

You’ve Got Mail

The greatest threat to data security is the necessary use of email for company business.  It is no secret that email is widest used line of communication in the business world. Unfortunately, company email use is often uncontrolled, unmonitored and employees left untrained in its use. Most employees never think of the risks associated with emailing such as viruses, phishing, pharming, spoofing, malware, ransomware, botnets, spyware, Trojan horses and a host of other technological “nasties” that can bring a business to its knees.

Evading the Risks

Companies can significantly evade these risks by utilizing training programs designed to teach employees how to avoid opening attachments sent from unknown sources, authenticate a sender’s identity, and quickly identify whether an email is legitimate one or a “nasty” phishing one.  Annual and repetitive training that educates employees on what to look for and how to avoid the risks, along with competency testing on the material, is the key to success when it comes to company cyber security compliance. Bigger companies should utilize an outside third-party vendor to send “test” emails to identify employees needing retraining when they fail these real- life assessments.

Training Designed by Subject Matter Experts (SME’s)

Company employees presumably are a company’s largest cyber-security threat. They often are just trying to do their jobs, have critical interaction with company systems and constantly must make choices that might have an impact on their employer’s data security. A company must be certain employees are capable of pro-actively identify cyber threats and taking the necessary steps to protect themselves. This can be achieved when management requires that their employees are educated on these risks through training designed by subject matter experts (SME’s) in cyber security.

June 9, 2017

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