Cyber Security: The Power Is In Your Hands

Tim Hall, Head of Innovation

Human error is the cause of most cyber security breaches, so it’s vital to educate and train employees to better protect your data.

 

The best form of defence is offence, and when it comes to cyber security this is certainly the case. Hackers have an arsenal of tools at their disposal to help them access information and data, including state-of-the-art computers and devious software. But their most powerful tool is you and your employees; human error is the cause of most cyber security breaches.

This, however, makes preventing an attack far easier than organisations realise. With a little bit of education and training, employees can become diligent and savvy when it comes to protecting data and information. This, in turn, significantly reduces the risk of your business falling victim to a data breach.

Below, we provide a quick guide to identifying where cyber security threats come from, some of the tools you can use to better protect data, and how you can educate and train your employees to use them effectively. 

Identifying the threat:

Cyber security threats come in many forms, from complex scams to malicious bots via careless employees. Below are the most common:

Phishing: hackers will try to obtain sensitive information such as usernames, passwords, credit card details and access to files by tricking your employees into handing them over. They do this by pretending to be a reputable entity and often communicate via email.

DoS attacks: denial of service attacks are used by hackers to prevent users gaining access to a network or service. This is usually done by sending a high volume of messages asking the network or server to authenticate requests that have invalid return addresses.

Personal devices: employees often bring their own devices (laptops, smartphones, flash drives) to work, and there is no way of knowing what they are carrying. Home security software might not detect a virus like malware, which is then transferred into your system.

Insider threats: employees can be lax when it comes to cyber security compliance. Accessing personal social media accounts while on a work computer, emailing sensitive data to work from a device at home and connecting a company device to an unsecure network all increase the risk of a data breach.

With the main threats identified, here are three tips you can share with your employees today that will help them become more vigilant.

  1. Never leave devices unattended. If you need to step away from your computer, laptop or tablet, make sure it is password protected and locked.
  2. Practice good password management. Use a strong mix of characters, and don’t use the same password more than once. Don’t share it with others, either.
  3. Ensure anti-virus software is up to date, and regularly back-up data. If this is onto an external flash drive, make sure it is secure, too.

These tools are only as effective as the people using them, so it’s important to educate your employees as to the cyber security measures you have in place, and how they can use them to make sure the data they access, use and store remains secure.

To do this, we recommend you create step-by-step guides for employees to follow, regularly host cyber security workshops, and also invite experts to come to your office to speak with staff.

The power is very much in your hands when it comes to preventing cyber security breaches; you just need to ensure your employees have access to the right tools, and that they know how to use them.

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