Workers as a Cybersecurity Threat

According to the Stroz-Friedberg report,Information Security Risk in American Business, the biggest cybersecurity threat businesses today face is not necessarily from attacks coming from the outside. It’s coming from the inside, and not all the risks are related to malicious intent.

Some are simply the result of a lack of policies while others are a lack of education or simple carelessness on the part of employees with many employees feeling that senior management are the biggest threat to cyber security. These are some of the biggest worker-related cybersecurity threats today’s businesses face.

Bring Your Own Device (BYOD)

Businesses are increasingly allowing employees to access business networks with their own devices. Whether employees prefer laptop computers, tablet devices, or smartphones, business owners have realized that employees work more efficiently on devices they’re most familiar, and comfortable, using.

The problem with this is that employees don’t always practice safe Internet practices and protocols – nor do they invest in the firewalls, encryption, and antivirus software you’ve invested in for the business. This means their devices introduce new vulnerabilities to your business every time they connect to the network.

That’s why it’s so important to create company BYOD policies regarding use of personal devices, take action to secure employee devices, and conduct frequent backups of business information and date to cloud network for easy, and nearly complete restoration of business data in the event of a breach.

Social Media Missteps

Mobile apps, while helpful to employees in many ways, are notorious for carrying malware designed to share private information of users with third parties or to impersonate the owner of the device for malicious purposes. Social media and networking offers a false sense of security for many people that leads to revealing too much information or trusting the wrong people and/or applications. From drive by downloads of malware to ransomware and more, social media is a problem businesses today cannot afford to fail to address.

Employee Error or Carelessness

Perhaps the most prevalent of all issues posing a cybersecurity threat for businesses today is employee error. From sending sensitive information to the wrong email address, failing to make mass market emails blind carbon copies, or failing to safeguard passwords, there are many unique and devastating ways for simple employee errors to become big headaches for your business.

Training, education, and written policies can help mitigate these problems from happening. Also eliminating email as a common means for communication within the organization may be necessary – especially for businesses that deal with sensitive or confidential information.

Malicious Intent

Finally, employees sometimes become disenchanted with the companies they work for and create intentional problems as their way of sticking it to the man. While there is little you can do to weed this out altogether, there are things you can do to make your company less of a target. Invite communication with employees. Find new ways to increase engagement and job satisfaction. Promote from within and work to settle grievances as quickly and effectively as possible.

There’s no way to avoid any potential cybersecurity threat your business may face. Technology is simply evolving too fast for even the best security programs to keep up with it. That’s why you must invest in cyber liability insurance to protect your small business from the fallout of a data breach.