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Why Employees Could Make Or Break Cyber Security Goals

By January 25, 2019December 15th, 2020No Comments
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Businesses of any size are under threat of a cyber breach at all times, particularly if they do not have professional and managed security services. However, whatever system they have in place, it is essential to get all members of staff on board too.

Companies that fail to involve their employees could risk their entire online security strategy. Here are a few reasons why.

  • Lack of knowledge

Recent research by Beaming revealed that 72 per cent of large companies have been victims of cyber breaches over the last year – and many of these could be down to staff members. Most workers are not out to destroy the business they work for, but might end up doing so if they make some simple mistakes without knowing it.

A lack of knowledge is predominantly to blame for this, with the majority of staff uneducated when it comes to the security strategies that have been put in place.

Patrick Arben, partner at legal firm Gowling WLG, recently spoke to Open Access Government about the importance of cyber security and informing employees about the systems companies have initiated.

He stated: “The actions of one employee could make all the processes and strategies that are put in place to protect against digital risk redundant.”

Mr Arben advised firms to introduce an education programme about online security for members of staff, benefiting the business in the long-term as it will “drive awareness and a sense of personal responsibility throughout the workforce”.

  • Taking risks online

Employees are most likely to put their company at risk by not being vigilant when online. Absent-mindedly, they might open an email from someone they do not recognise or that they think looks legitimate but is, in fact, not. These phishing emails are hugely responsible for the number of data breaches that occur online, as they can be very convincing to the unsuspecting recipient.

Another way members of staff might be risky is by using unsecured networks. Accessing data on the business’ cloud outside of the office, or using free Wi-Fi on public transport, in cafes and restaurants, are ways they risk the company’s confidential documents getting hacked into.

Cyber criminals could intercept the connection, getting their hands on data that they should not be able to see. They might also be able to retrieve passwords, allowing them to access the information at a later date as well.

  • Downloading

Most of us use the internet all day long, whether it is to check our social media, look up something online, update work documents, send emails, or make purchases.

Indeed, according to Ofcom, Brits spend an average of 24 hours a week online, while 20 per cent can be on internet-related services for more 40 hours during this time.

One of the most popular things to do online is to use apps. However, many of these are illegitimate, meaning they may contain malware the user is not aware of.

If this is the case, they can be the source of a data leak, putting company information at risk if unsecure apps are downloaded over its internet connection.

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