Most businesses in the modern era are well aware of the risk of losing sensitive data through security system vulnerabilities. But recent studies have shown that your employees may pose the biggest threat to cybersecurity. Here are five ways to monitor and deal with unsafe practices and minimise internal user errors which could compromise your data and potentially create a huge problem for your company.
Evaluate network security issues
If your organisation handles a lot of sensitive data, chances are you’ve already invested quite a bit in skilled IT personnel and sophisticated security measures. But existing security systems should be frequently assessed to identify any potential weaknesses – and new ones must be tested before being implemented or upgraded. External and internal network penetration testing can guide your efforts by identifying specific end-user behaviours and individuals whose practices may compromise the security of your entire network.
Employee education and training
Even in the digital era, not all employees are aware of cybersecurity best practices. What seems self-evident to you – using strong passwords, being careful in the addressing and sending of emails with sensitive data – may not be so apparent to others. Train and educate your employees upfront regarding their role in cybersecurity, and the different tactics used by hackers and social engineers to gain access to sensitive data. Conduct periodic refreshers and updates to maintain their level of awareness and bring any new hires up to speed.
Implement privileged access
Setting up a strong network security system often focuses on dealing with external threats, but it’s essential to take measures to mitigate the level of internal risk as well. Work with your IT to identify sensitive data and the specific employees who should have permission to access, modify, and share these resources. By restricting these privileges, you’ll ensure that users who don’t need access to sensitive data for their work will not pose an internal threat to the security of your data.
Tighter measures for remote workers
Many employees want to work remotely, either full-time or telecommuting and this arrangement can be quite beneficial to your business as well. But remote workers also pose a more significant security risk compared to those operating within the internal network. You can manage this risk by requiring them to only use company-issued and secured devices, instead of personal ones which may be more prone to getting compromised. Also, enforce VPN-only access; remote workers may be doing their work in public places, and connecting to unsecured WiFi is one of the easiest ways to let hackers view your transmitted data.
Diligent and well-meaning employees tend to learn and retain their cybersecurity training, but you may sometimes run into employees who are actively seeking to acquire and sell your data. All employees must be aware that sharing logins or workstations is never allowed; this one method by which the wrong person can access sensitive data. Constant monitoring is necessary, whether through monitoring software installed on each station or via random spot checks and audits of user activity logs.
Your employees can be your greatest asset, but when it comes to cybersecurity, they may prove to be a liability and undermine your best efforts to secure your data. Take these measures, and others you may find, to lessen your business risk through human error.