Cybersecurity breaches can be immensely damaging to businesses. Not only do they risk the loss of sensitive customer data, but they can also tarnish a company’s reputation and lead to costly legal and financial repercussions.
Despite this, many employees are unaware of the ways in which their own behaviors may be compromising a company’s cybersecurity. From reducing anti-malware protection to using weak passwords, there are a multitude of ways an employee can put their company at risk. In fact, 95% of cybersecurity breaches are caused by human error, meaning they were likely preventable.
Read on to learn about nine of the ways employees unknowingly compromise cybersecurity.
1. Failing to update anti-malware software
Failing to update anti-malware software is a common way employees unknowingly compromise cybersecurity. It is essential to keep it updated to protect against new threats, but many are unaware of the importance or of the latest updates, leaving companies vulnerable to cyberattacks.
Employees may disable anti-malware updates or even uninstall the software, leading to undetected threats that could cause major damage.
Businesses should educate employees on the importance of keeping anti-malware software up to date. Employees should be aware of the consequences of disabling/uninstalling software and be encouraged to update regularly for protection against new threats and the risk of cyberattacks.
2. Reusing passwords across accounts
Another common way employees unknowingly compromise cybersecurity is by reusing passwords across accounts. Reusing passwords can be a dangerous decision, as it leaves the company vulnerable to attack. If a hacker were to gain access to one account, they could then use the same password to access other accounts. This could lead to the loss of sensitive information, such as customer data or financial records.
Strong passwords that are long, unique and never reused are key to ensuring threat actors are unable to easily guess them and gain unauthorized access to your business system or network.
3. Clicking on malicious links
Another way employees may unknowingly compromise cybersecurity is by clicking on malicious links. Malicious links can come in a variety of forms, including email attachments, links in emails, or links on websites. If an employee were to click on one of these links, they could unknowingly download malware or expose their computer to attack.
Employees should be encouraged to never click on links in emails or attachments from unknown sources, and to be wary of links on websites. They should also be encouraged to use a reputable antivirus program to detect malicious links, and to report any suspicious links to their IT team.
4. Using public Wi-Fi networks
Public Wi-Fi networks can be insecure and can easily be compromised by hackers. If an employee were to connect to a public Wi-Fi network, they could be exposing their computer and the company’s data to attack.
Businesses should encourage employees to avoid using public Wi-FI when accessing sensitive data. They should also be encouraged to use a virtual private network (VPN) when accessing the internet, as this can help protect their data from hackers.
5. Accessing company data from personal devices
Employees may unknowingly breach cybersecurity by accessing company data from personal devices, such as computers, smartphones, or mobile devices. This raises the risk of a data breach and exposes the company to legal and financial repercussions if customer data is accessed from an unsecured device.
Remind employees to use only company-approved devices and multi-factor authentication when accessing company data, and not to store sensitive company data on personal devices. Instead, store data securely in encrypted cloud storage or other secure locations.
6. Storing passwords in an unsecured location
Storing passwords in an unsecured location can leave a company vulnerable to attack. Businesses should educate employees on the importance of using a password manager and strong, unique passwords for each account, and changing them regularly.
7. Posting sensitive company information online
Another way employees may unknowingly compromise cybersecurity is by posting sensitive company information online. Posting sensitive information online can be a dangerous decision, as it can leave the company vulnerable to attack. If a hacker were to gain access to the information, they could use it to gain access to the company’s systems or data.
Businesses should educate their employees on the dangers of posting sensitive information online and to be wary of sharing any information on social media.
8. Ignoring security warnings
Security warnings are designed to alert users to potential security risks, and it is important that they are taken seriously. Ignoring a security warning could leave the company vulnerable to attack, as the warning may have been identifying a potential risk.
Employees should be encouraged to never ignore a security warning, and to report any suspicious activity to their IT team. They should also be encouraged to keep their devices up to date and to use reputable antivirus software to detect any potential threats.
9. Downloading apps from untrusted sources
Downloading apps from untrusted sources can compromise cybersecurity by introducing malicious code and opening up the company to security threats. In order to ensure that apps are only downloaded from trusted sources, remind employees to only download apps from developers that are trusted and verified. Finally, it’s important to remind employees to never download any apps that are not directly related to their work.
Stop cybersecurity breaches with the experts
Cybersecurity breaches can be immensely damaging to businesses, and it is essential that employees are aware of the ways in which their own behaviors may be compromising a company’s cybersecurity. Employee security awareness is as vital to your business security as the latest security solutions. The managed security experts at ION247 can ensure your security is protected including the people, processes, and technology.