Importance of Educating Your Employees on CyberSecurity

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While having the latest software and a highly skilled IT security team on your side does make your company much safer from various cyber-threats, the main cause of the majority of security breaches is still a human error. The more employees you have, the greater the problem this will be. Because of this, in order to make your office truly secure from these breaches, you need to understand the importance of educating your employees on cybersecurity. Here are several points you need to address, although they are not in order of importance.

Proper password policy

If a member of your team uses the name of their pet as a password for their work-related account, then the chances are that this password can be effortlessly stolen by a hacker, without even much effort. All that one has to do is go to one’s Facebook profile, find their picture with a pet and look at the caption or the comments. For same or similar reasons, nicknames, mother’s maiden name and significant dates in your life are as bad of a password choice.

In order to make a password ironclad, you need to make it as random as possible. On the other hand, this puts you at risk of not being able to remember it, which makes people resort to one of two major mistakes. They either A) write it down or B) use the same password for a multitude of accounts. For the first error, there is always a chance that someone will steal or find a piece of paper or a notebook that it was written on. The second error is much more dangerous, seeing as how losing a single password might lead to a breach on many different fronts.

A strong password, therefore, contains a random phrase, consisting of both upper- and lowercase letters, as well as possessing both numbers and numerals in its sequence. Instead of relying on the idea that your employees will be conscientious, you might want to enforce a strong password policy. Moreover, the best password is the one that that changes every several months. Needless to say, this is the best way to stay safe.

The dangers of phishing

The next major issue that needs to be addressed is the issue of phishing. Namely, this phenomenon consists of a phony email or pop-up window, whose only purpose is to drag you into an unsecured domain and steal your password, credentials or personal information.

As for the magnitude of this problem, about 156 million phishing emails get sent each day, of which 15.6 million (approximately 10 percent) make it past the mailing service filters. Out of this, more than half (about 8 million) actually get opened. In other words, a chance that this kind of a miscalculation will happen in your workplace isn’t an insignificant one.

On the other hand, you need to explain to your employees that these emails are not the greatest threat. In fact, almost 88 percent of all phishing links get spread through a browser.

Make sure they are briefed by experts

Even though you may have all of these facts, as well as a great level of entrepreneurial authority around the office, what you have to say on the topic of cybersecurity may not resound as strongly as you may have hoped for. Because of this, you need to learn as much about this topic as possible. Luckily, some IT services companies like PicNet offer free consultations to entrepreneurs and individuals alike. Here, you may inquire about methods that will minimize risks and promote strategic growth in a consistent and safe manner.

Put them to test

Probably the greatest problem with fighting scams like phishing or password theft is the false sense of security that your staff will be lulled into. After all, everyone knows not to click on an email from ‘the Nigerian prince’, right? Well, both yes and no. You see, every day, there are over 516 unique phishing attacks worldwide. With this in mind you need to understand that there is no 100 percent reliable indicator that you are the target of a phishing attack.

Sure, numbers may seem quite conclusive, yet, your employees might still fail to believe them. Because of this, your best bet lies in employing some white hat hackers in order to show them exactly what this looks like. By experiencing such an attack first hand (yet in a controlled environment) they will become much more cautious and less careless.

In conclusion

At the end of the day, you are only as strong as your weakest link. Speaking of metaphors, what good is even the sturdiest gate if one of the defenders of the fortress hands out the key to the enemy. In order to prevent this example from being applicable in your own situation, you need to educate each and every member of your staff on what hazards lurk out there. After all, just knowing there is a trap is probably the first step in avoiding it.


Author: Aside from primary area of interest and expertise in business consulting, Ian could be tagged also as a passionate sports fan, nature and photography enthusiast, always trying to keep up to date with tech innovations and development.

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