For small businesses, the risk of cybercrime is ever-increasing. Generally under-resourced and perhaps cutting corners on cybersecurity, these companies are uniquely vulnerable to the evolving threat posed by criminals online.
While some will take measures to secure their data and intellectual property from threats, many organizations are especially at risk right now as they have switched to remote workforces and potentially left several security holes in their systems. And it’s not just outside threat actors businesses have to worry about—employees themselves can pose a risk.
Here’s why it’s critical for your remote workforce to do cybersecurity training, especially as workforce trends are continually changing:
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Your Employees Pose a Significant Threat to Your Security
Employees can pose one of the most significant risks, even unintentionally, without the right measures in place to safeguard your business. It is estimated that 24% of all data breaches are caused by human error, at an average total cost of $3.5 million. That would be ruinous for the average small business.
That’s not to mention another huge damage that comes from cybersecurity issues—loss of sensitive information. With almost half of all companies holding over 1,000 sensitive pieces of information which are not protected, it’s a serious risk that needs a serious solution in place.
The fact is, human error always adds an element of risk, even for businesses who are otherwise well protected. As the boundaries between home life and work become increasingly blurred, this threat is only getting worse.
The risk can come in the form of employees sharing inappropriate or sensitive data through mobile devices, the loss of electronics that expose firms to risk, and inappropriate use of IT resources by staff. And with a smaller enterprise, there is less likely to be strict policies and monitoring in place to prevent such incidents from happening.
Security Risks Are Increasing During the COVID-19 Pandemic
This risk has only deepened as businesses struggle with the impact of the global COVID-19 pandemic and adjust their operations to allow employees to work from home. Many new remote working set-ups have been put together hastily and may have security flaws that tip the balance.
Staff may be more prone to make mistakes, which put company systems or confidential data at risk. Occasionally, this is the result of malicious intent—30% of all security incidents in the last 12 months have reportedly involved staff working against their employer. However, more usually, security risk can either be through carelessness and distraction in the home environment or because employees have not been provided with the correct training to teach them how to protect the companies they work for.
Mitigating Your Cybersecurity Risk
While no business can completely insulate from risk in an interconnected world, there is a lot that you can do when staff have the proper tools and training at their disposal.
Cybersecurity training is now more vital than ever to support staff and minimize the threats that your business faces, and using cybersecurity services with these training resources can be a proactive step towards compliance even for those working remotely and observing social distancing rules.
There are lots of key ways in which the right training can support your staff and processes:
- Recognize and Avoid Phishing Emails: Criminals often use emails or even text messages to trick people into handing over confidential information. This is usually an attempt to steal passwords, account numbers, customer information and other data that can be used for criminal purposes. Tactics can be very sophisticated and messages are often made to look extremely authentic. The user is usually asked to click on a link or open an attachment. Although these phishing attempts can be convincing, there are ways that your employees can spot messages which aren’t genuine with the right training behind them.
- Identify Flaws In Your Set-Up: The right training can turn your employees into a security asset rather than a liability. With an efficient first line of defense from staff who understand how to spot and assess risk, you’re less likely to come under attack. It is also then possible to use their insight and your provider’s recommendations on the threats to their particular areas of work to build a comprehensive cybersecurity plan which further protects your systems from attack.
- React Correctly When Breaches Occur: Even in the most vigilant and well-defended businesses, the risk level can never be taken to zero, especially as the methods used are always evolving. But when and if a significant IT disaster does occur, you can minimize the damage.
Well trained employees understand what to do and who to contact when an IT emergency occurs. They can even practice with live attack simulations which gives you a clear view of employee readiness and helps you to evaluate exactly where further training is needed.
Your employees are one of your business’s most costly resources and should be one of your greatest assets. With a small investment into the correct training, they can become your biggest defence against the ever-present threat to your IT security. Turn a liability into an asset and let training be your support against attack.