Threats to your security can arise where you least suspect them: in your own backyard. A simple act by a trusted employee can quickly lead to a full-blown security breach. As IT professionals, we have seen firsthand how costly and disruptive these attacks can be on organizations. If you’re not concerned about an employee-induced security breach, you should be, and here are Preemo’s top 6 tips.

1. Employee Training 

As much as they can become a security problem, your employees can also be part of your security solution. With proper security training, they play a vital role in keeping your company’s valuable information safe. 

Here are three “common sense” practices to remind your staff to follow: 

  • Do not leave your phone or computer unlocked and unattended; 
  • Do not use an unsecured wifi network (such as public wifi at an airport or cafe) for work-related tasks; and 
  • Keep your passwords strong and change them regularly. The strongest passwords contain a combination of letters (lower and uppercase), numbers, and symbols. 

In 2019, 94% of all malware was delivered via email. Once your team has mastered the security basics, it is crucial to teach them how to spot an email phishing attempt.

The term “phishing” refers to a cybercrime in which targets are contacted, often via email, by malicious actors posing as a legitimate organization. The target is then prompted to enter personal information, download something, or click on a link in the email. Any of these actions can lead to a massive security breach. 

There are certain hallmarks of a phishing email that you can teach your employees to identify on their own. First, phishing emails are often riddled with spelling and grammar errors, the kind that would never be sent by a legitimate company. 

Also, remind your employees that a legitimate organization, such as their bank or car insurance provider, will never ask them for sensitive information over email. Any email asking you for your passwords, credit card number, or social security information is most likely a scam, and should be immediately treated with suspicion. 

Furthermore, look at the email address of the sender; does it have any extra letters or numbers? Is it from a domain that’s different, in any way, from the official domain of the organization or  company it’s purporting to represent? Be wary of any email address that doesn’t seem streamlined and well-written. There is a big difference between “@gmail.com” and “@gmail23.com.” Once again, spelling errors should also be a huge red flag. 

Finally, remind your employees that a credible organization will not usually force them to click on a link. Strongly advise your staff against clicking any links provided in emails, whether the sender seems legitimate or not.

2. Use Cybersecurity Tools 

Make sure your valuable information is as safe as possible by implementing cybersecurity tools on a daily basis. At Preemo, we use an extensive suite of antivirus softwares to prevent, detect, and remove malware before it can affect a corporate network. 

Firewalls are one of the best tools in the fight against cybersecurity breaches. Firewalls monitor and control access to a private network. They monitor traffic going in and out of the network to prevent unauthorized individuals from gaining access. At Preemo, we use firewalls in both hardware and software formats to keep our clients’ data protected. 

DNS filtering is another great technique to keep your employees from visiting a dangerous site in the first place. Domain Name System (DNS) filtering, is a cybersecurity technique of blocking access to certain websites based on their IP address. DNS filtering checks the websites your employees are accessing against lists of known malware and phishing sites and blocks access to those sites. 

An IT Managed Services Provider can take care of deploying and monitoring these cybersecurity tools for you. 

3. Control Access 

To maximize security, make sure your system admin keeps a strict access policy. Best practices are to only allow users to access data required for their work. Do not issue blanket access to all of your employees on the network. 

Access to privileged files and information should be granted depending on the user’s role. This prevents an unauthorized employee from gaining entry to sensitive files they do not need or could compromise.  

There is also a physical aspect to access control. Use keypads or card readers to control access to your offices, data rooms, and IT closet. This way, only trusted individuals can access the devices on which your information is stored. 

4. Update Software 

Many employees see software updates as a time-consuming hassle. However, this is far from the truth. Software updates and patches exist for a reason: they fix anything that was wrong with the previous version, including security vulnerabilities. Older versions of software can leave room for malicious actors to gain access. 

Software no longer supported by the manufacturer? Get rid of it. As programs reach “end of life” status, patches are no longer available to fix them. This means they are extremely vulnerable to a security threat. Though it may be time consuming, it is crucial to switch over to a newer software. If it seems overwhelming, hire an IT MSP to handle it for you.  

5. Backup 

Creating and maintaining a quality backup system is vital for any business. If a cybersecurity incident does happen, a backup reduces recovery time and ensures that you don’t lose your information. It is wise to run an automated daily backup at the end of each work day. 

Remember: not just any backup will do the job. If a backup is improperly configured, the backup itself can become vulnerable. To make sure your backup is secure, work with a great managed service provider on the setup and upkeep of your backup. 

If a problem does occur, the MSP can also take charge of disaster recovery. At Preemo, we set up effective backup solutions and monitor our clients’ backups 24/7 in case any issue arises. 

6. New Hire Background Checks 

Our final tip is an essential one: make sure you are hiring trustworthy employees in the first place. Always run a background check on any potential new employees. A pre-hire screening will provide you with financial and criminal history to make sure you do not hire anyone who could threaten your business. 

Moving Forward 

Employee-induced security breaches can be extremely damaging to businesses. However, with proper protection and education, they are avoidable. With these tips, you can make sure your employees are your best asset, not your biggest threat. Do you have other security questions? Click here to get a free, instant, no-obligation quote.