Cybersecurity is a priority for businesses of all sizes, in all industries. However, data security is not just an IT issue. Effectively protecting company and customer data requires all-hands-on-deck, and every employee from the entry level to senior management should play a role.
Employees Are Your Weakest Security Link
Unfortunately, individual employees create the easiest access for many hackers – which means they must also be the first line of defense. Hackers can use phishing emails, malware, stolen passwords, smartphones and other entry points to gain access to company networks. Employees need to be educated on modern best practices to ensure they begin to take ownership of their roles in preventing hacks.
Assume All Mobile Devices Are Vulnerable
Malware is most effective when it is downloaded to personal devices – and hackers know this. It is relatively easy to trick someone into installing malware on their personal phone, and if a victim accesses work software on that same device, the hacker has access as well.
It is difficult to create a foolproof security plan for mobile devices, but threats can be mitigated with regular training to help employees stay informed, by eliminating “bring your own device” (BYOD) policies, or by providing employees with company-approved, secure mobile devices and preventing the user from accessing third-party apps.
In 2019, Americans are still clicking on malicious links in emails despite ongoing training, news stories and awareness of how phishing schemes work. Phishing drills are a great way to keep employees on their toes. Have the tech team create fake phishing emails and track which employees click the link in the email. For dramatic effect, send the link to a landing page that scolds the employee for falling for the scheme. It will keep team members on their toes and will help them develop better individual practices for their email.
Force Password Changes
Most people do not change their passwords as often as they should, and many people still use the same passwords for multiple websites and platforms. Force employees to change their passwords at least once per quarter, forcing them to use a new password each time.
Regularly Hold Security Training
At least twice per year, but preferably more, hold cybersecurity training with staff to continue going over best practices and to keep awareness high. The landscape is always changing, and the average person doesn’t stay plugged in to hacking trends, so it is important to be proactive when it comes to educating your team.