Technological breakthroughs have transformed everyday life and the business landscape in many positive ways. Despite the many benefits of these innovations, these advances made it possible for cybercriminals to destroy more businesses. Meanwhile, cybersecurity services are doing the best they can to protect a business’ IT infrastructure and digital assets.
Every year, the cybersecurity threat environment has grown larger in scope, which kept the information security sector on continuous high alert. Malevolent actors can steal important data, corrupt databases, and take down websites with just one click of a button. From online stores, government facilities, to healthcare institutions, no business sector is spared from these concerns.
Whether big or small, any business is prone to cybersecurity threats, especially those with poor cybersecurity education. It’s a common misconception that startups and small ventures are too small to be targeted, but this isn’t the case for attackers who want to steal as much information and money as they can.
We cannot stress enough the importance of staying proactive in knowing how to protect your business and employees from cybersecurity risks. With that in mind, we’ll discuss the top reasons why your employees are the biggest threat to information security.
Link and phishing scams
Phishing attacks are the biggest and the most widespread and damaging cyberthreat that confront many small businesses. Cybercriminals design phishing scams by pretending to be legitimate entities and tricking users into providing essential data.
Phishing attack comes in the form of email scams. Often, these type of emails contain links which entice the user to visit a credible-looking website, fill out a form, download malicious files, or provide access to credentials, account details, password, and other sensitive information they can use or sell illegally.
There are various telltale signs if you receive a phishing email. These include typos, spelling mistakes, the use of the term ‘customer’ instead of the recipient’s real name, requesting to open attachments or links, or an instruction telling the receiver to contact the sender.
Training is the best way to remedy this cybersecurity threat. As phishing attacks have become much more complex and email scams now more convincing, it’s crucial for businesses to invest in proper training to prevent employees from falling into victims. Another way is to have a secure email gateway (SEG) to monitor every email sent and received inside the company network. This will eliminate unwanted email that contains malware, phishing attacks, spam, and other malicious content.
Malware attacks are the next big threat to small businesses. These include various cyberattacks such as viruses, trojan horses, worms, bots, ransomware, spyware, and scams. In other words, malware is a broad term that refers to any malicious code that aims to steal data, destroy information, and gain access to private networks. Malicious codes serve as the attackers’ back door to infiltrate company data, which puts employees and customers at risk.
Malware often comes from spam emails, illegal downloads, malicious websites, or connecting the computer to infected devices. These attacks lead to catastrophic losses for businesses because of their ability to destroy devices that require costly repairs or even replacements.
Malware attacks have become more frequent during the pandemic as people began to use their personal devices while working from home. Although this saves money and cost, companies are more prone to malware attacks if they allow employees to be less sensitive to company data.
There are plenty of software solutions to protect company data against malware attacks. One example is deploying endpoint security platforms on endpoint devices to avoid file-based malware, identify and block fraudulent activities from untrusted websites, and provide remediation solutions to respond to security alerts. Other techniques include installing anti-spyware software, using secure authentication methods, and keeping software updated.
Every company requires several applications to make operations easier. These include accounting software, project management tools, and communication platforms. These programs require employees to secure their accounts with strong passwords to prevent hackers from accessing company data.
In this case, password management should be a part of every employee’s cybersecurity training. Small businesses are at risk from cyber threats caused by employees who used weak and easily guessed passwords.
Password awareness must teach employees how to create a strong password, secure and remember it, and change it at least every three months. To ensure strict compliance, include password management in the company policy and make password changes mandatory.
Cybersecurity threats are moving faster, and the effects are becoming more devastating and complex than ever. In this case, businesses must take proactive steps in securing their network and data by establishing a cyber-risk management strategy and proper employee training. With the right training and strategy, you can significantly reduce the risk of becoming a victim of any form of cybercrime.