November 16th, 2015

Cybersecurity begins with educating your employees

16660796639_5bba104e7f_zIn the workplace, digital security doesn’t begin and ends with the IT guy who set up the password and computer monitoring software on your computer. Every employee in an organization, from the top down, is responsible for keeping a company safe from cyber-attacks. Security should be something every employee takes seriously, and undertakes on a regular basis as part of being a responsible member of the team.

How can employees on the front line do that? We took note of a recent interview with Robert Cioffi, CEO of Yonkers-based Progressive Computing, about ways companies can make their system less vulnerable to attack. First, he talked about the threat:

“[C]yber-criminals are relentlessly targeting the end-user or non-tech savvy person, not the IT experts at companies,” says Cioffi. “Therefore, the end users (employees) are under constant attack and must be ever vigilant.”

Since smaller organizations tend to lack the knowledge or resources to set up security it makes them more vulnerable to attack. Cioffi suggests someone should be monitoring employee activity and have a system of checks and balances in place.

The solution comes from trying to educate their staff to be aware – and Cioffi touches on some simple tips:

  • Have employees sign off on things like an acceptable computer usage policy.
  • Provide consistent educational messaging on security. Make it a habit – and incentivize good behavior.
  • Start off with understanding basic precautions: eg. “don’t open emails that look strange, don’t answer security related questions via email, when in doubt ask questions, etc.”

That isn’t to say employees are expected to become security experts. But as Cioffi says, nor should they “bury their heads in the sand” because they think they don’t understand the technical jargon.

Extra Computer Security Tips from the BBC

It seems to be a hot topic this month – and not just for businesses close to our North American HQ. To the above, we would add in these suggestions from a great article from the BBC’s technology section:

  • Pay attention to your data. “But many businesses don’t even know what data they have stored on their systems, let alone how important it is, such is the complexity of their legacy computer systems and the recent proliferation of digital data from mobile and “internet of things” devices.” That’s particularly critical in the event that your business can face legal liabilities from privacy regulators who don’t necessarily even operate in your area but may have jurisdiction over areas where your customers operate.
  • Understand that insider threats, accidental or otherwise, are potentially your biggest threats. “Employees clicking on email attachments they believe are from trusted sources is “the number one threat for organisations”, says Gary Steele, boss of Proofpoint, a secure email specialist.”

Want more ideas about how computer monitoring can help secure your business? Keep reading our blog for more tips!

Photo Credit: GotCredit