The Weakest Link: Are Your Employees Making You Vulnerable to Cyberattack?

The Weakest Link: Are Your Employees Making You Vulnerable to Cyberattack?

In today’s increasingly volatile threat landscape, cybersecurity is a top concern for businesses of all sizes. Organizations routinely spend billions on software and Information Security in an effort to protect themselves against an onslaught of ransomware, phishing scams, and social engineering attacks.

Unfortunately, many businesses don’t realize that the biggest threat to their Information Security is the human element. Employees are a vital link to a business’s success, but they represent a complicated piece of the cybersecurity puzzle that is often overlooked by standard security algorithms and processes.

Today’s sophisticated cyber criminals are hyper focused on generating the maximum ROI and profit. One of the most lucrative methods of cyberattack in today’s business world is through the use and proliferation of ransomware, which is propagated using social engineering techniques that prey on the human element.

What Information Security Weaknesses Make My Business Vulnerable?

Businesses should consider the following potential vulnerabilities when securing their IT perimeter against human error and cyberattack:

  • Poor employee password habits, such as repetitive characters and easy-to-guess phrases
  • Lack of proper BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) and BYON (Bring Your Own Network) company protocols
  • Transmission of sensitive company information via an employee’s personal mobile device on a company network
  • Clicking on an unsafe attachment in an email or download
  • Unsecured sharing of passwords with others
  • Leaving company computers and mobile devices unattended when off premises and out-of-network
  • Using personally owned mobile devices to connect to the organization’s network for personal business
  • Poor system patch management and lack of regular updates
  • System misconfiguration errors

Hackers Use Social Engineering to Prey on Employees’ Trust and Vulnerability

Today’s savvy hackers use sophisticated social engineering techniques to manipulate company employees into clicking on and/or opening infected email attachments and downloads. These phishing emails are designed to pose as authentic communications from company executives—and they are so effective, many employees can’t tell the difference between the hacker’s email and one from their CEO. Once your employee clicks on an infected attachment, a ransomware or other Trojan is unleashed into your company system.

In order to mitigate the vulnerabilities associated with the human element, industry experts recommend the following best practices:

1. Education and Training of Employees

Poor employee password habits are a leading cause of incidents and data breaches. In order to mitigate the potential damage that even just one careless employee can wreak on a company network, it is vital to conduct regular and continuing education and training sessions to keep everyone up to speed on the latest threats and best practices.

2. Use Encryption for Confidential and Sensitive Information

Keep your most sensitive information out of the hands of cybercriminals with encryption technology.

3. Maintain Backups Onsite, Offsite, and in the Cloud

It isn’t enough to simply backup your data at the office. IT experts agree that the most secure businesses have one backup on site, one offsite, and another in a virtual location. That way, if there is a natural or other disaster and your physical location is compromised, you can rely on the backups you’ve maintained offsite.

4. Having Backup Isn’t Enough—Disaster Recovery Planning is Key

Simply having backup isn’t going to help during a disaster if that backup isn’t functional. Implementing a disaster recovery and business continuity plan will help keep your business up-and-running in the event of a catastrophe.

5. Standardize Company BYOD and BYON Protocols

These days, everyone has a mobile device in their pocket. In order to mitigate the threat of an errant employee’s smartphone wreaking havoc on the company network, set standard policies for those who wish to use their own devices on company time. That way, everyone is on the same page—and rogue access to your company network is limited.

Your managed security services provider can help train and educate your employees on cybersecurity best practices so you can avoid unnecessary and costly downtime. If you’d like more information on how to mitigate your business’s vulnerability when it comes to the human element, contact Intrinium for more information.

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