A recent survey showed that about 52% of the 5,000 businesses that took part in the study believed that their employees were their most vulnerable cybersecurity weakness. In a similar study involving organisations in the UK, nearly two-thirds of the respondents admitted that human error was to blame for data breaches in their organisations.
The human factor remains one of the biggest challenges in developing effective cyber security strategies. Unfortunately, human error is often overlooked as a potential loophole in data and web security measures. Many security strategies simply ignore or fail to put enough emphasis on the importance of bringing employees and staff members on-board with security systems.
Most of these human errors are due to carelessness such as weak passwords, irresponsible use of IT resources, and failing to identify and report potential cyber threats. In other cases, cyber criminals deploy socially engineered threats to get staff members to unknowingly install malware on enterprise systems or expose exploitable blind spots. Some hackers go as far as to threaten employees into giving out crucial authentication details.
Whichever the case, businesses and organisations have to address the human problem in cyber security. Otherwise, even the most powerful practical data security measures could be rendered useless. Here are a few effective ways in which this problem can be solved.
The first and most crucial step towards ensuring data security is educating your employees on observing any existing security policies. Make cyber security training a high priority in the organisation. Begin by explaining the importance of data security and make it clear that it’s in everyone’s best interest to uphold data safety standards.
Train your employees on the basics of cyber hygiene, such as:
• Keeping away from questionable websites
• Avoiding clicking on popups and email links
• Logging off secured resource access when not in use
• Using strong, unique passwords
• Avoiding posting detailed photos of IT hardware and software on social media
Also, train your staff members on how to handle the various IT resources, and how to identify and report phishing and other socially engineered threats. Remember to repeat safety training regularly, and every time there is a change in the business operations. The goal here is to increase awareness of cyber safety and enforce responsibility in the workplace.
Strictly abolish the BYOD policy
Some organisations allow and even encourage employees to bring in their own computing devices to work. Remote workers are also given access to business data and software through their personal devices. This might seem like an easy way to cut the business’s IT budget, but it’s an incredibly risky way of saving money.
As an employer, you have no control over what the employees choose to do with their personal laptops and smartphones. And yet these devices may contain sensitive business data or open access to data management systems. A catastrophic data breach could result from the loss of such a device or should it fall into the wrong hands.
Ensure that your employees only use on-prem IT resources. Don’t allow anyone to access or use business data on their personal computers.
Invest in physical security
It’s a common practice in the workplace to separate physical security from cyber security. Many business owners don’t realise that physical and cyber security need to work hand-in-hand. Ignoring physical security creates many gaps that leave the organisation vulnerable to data security threats.
Control and monitor the movements of your employees and visitors within the business premises. Restrict access to critical areas such as server rooms to only a few authorised individuals. This will prevent both employees and visitors from coming into contact with high-level IT resources and data.
There are many different ways to implement tight physical security. Some of the cutting-edge security solutions include intelligent video surveillance, bio-metric authentication, and smart key-card doors.
Hire qualified IT support
You shouldn’t allow just any employee to service or handle delicate computing hardware and software such as servers, IT networks, and security software. Always have a qualified IT support team at hand to avoid costly mistakes.
Setting up and maintaining an efficient and secure IT system is quite challenging, especially for small businesses. The solution is to either hire a proactive IT support service or migrate digital processes onto the cloud. With cloud migration comes the benefit of cloud support, which can be outsourced to a third party.
Use ethical hackers to audit employees
It’s essential to know how good your employees are at detecting potential security threats and taking appropriate action. An excellent way of assessing your employees’ awareness and preparedness to cyber threats is hiring an ethical hacker.
An ethical hacker is a white hat hacker who uses social techniques to try and gain unauthorised access to data. The hackers use various approaches to acquire high-level access through staff members. Some may attempt to use ransomware, verbal threats, and phishing to extract valuable information from employees.
At the end of the drill, the hacker should provide you with valuable insights into your workforce, down to the individual level. This way, you can pinpoint with certainty where your biggest security weaknesses lie and the most effective course of action.
The most important thing is that employees understand their roles and responsibilities in protecting the company’s data. With enough awareness and skills in practising high levels of caution in the workplace, human error can be eliminated entirely. It’s, in fact, possible to turn your staff into the company’s first line of defence against attacks.
At Cara Technology, we care about your cyber and IT security needs. We are an IT consultancy and support service dedicated to ensuring that organisations meet their digital and data security demands. Get in touch with us about cyber and IT security and learn more about our services, contact us today.