Are You Aware Of This Massive Cyber Security Threat?

Are You Aware Of This Massive Cyber Security Threat?

For the past year, Covid-19 has caused enormous changes in the way companies run their businesses. Most have been faced with the need to shift many employees to working remotely from home. While this has had some benefits, it’s also meant businesses and their employees have had to approach in new ways. Another issue that’s come to the fore is cybersecurity.

As businesses have made the shift to both on-site and remote employees, cybersecurity issues have continued to evolve. These are not new issues; however, many companies have found that remote work has led to new cyberthreats.

In this article, we’ll take a look at one of the major cyberthreats faced by almost every company.

Inside Cybersecurity Threats

You’re probably familiar with inside cybersecurity threats. But you may not realize where a majority of those threats originate. One of the greatest sources of insider threats are from your own employees. That’s a hard statement for many businesses to accept, yet it’s true.

According to a 2020 Verizon Data Breach Investigations Report[SV1] , which came out before the pandemic, about 30 percent of all data breaches and other security issues are caused by employees. And this trend is set to continue into 2021.

This is due to the fact that many companies are downsizing to cut costs and effectively manage their resources to stay on a growth path. For these reasons, many employees will continue to work remotely. Which, of course, leads to more cybersecurity problems.

What are the Insider Threats Companies Face?

Insider threats are not a new issue caused by the pandemic. This has been an ongoing problem; however, the issue has grown more serious with more employees working remotely. Unfortunately, the current job market has made it lucrative for malicious insiders to steal data, only to use it to gain a job with competitors. But this isn’t the only insider cybersecurity issue.

Another threat comes from employees who accidentally make an error while working from home. For instance, employees have the opportunity to use either personal or company devices for work. They may even share these devices with those in their household. In this way, sensitive data may accidentally be shared.

Here, it’s important to stop and realize that most employees are not out to harm the company. Most insider threats are caused by errors or even lack of awareness.

Human Errors & Cybersecurity

We all make mistakes. An employee can have all the best training in the world, and still make mistakes. Things can happen if we’re suddenly distracted and trying to multi-task at the same time. A popup window can suddenly flash on the screen, and then disappear as quickly. In that short interval, malicious code may have been installed on our device. That’s all it takes to cause a cybersecurity breach.

Another cause for human error is the lack of awareness. What does this mean? Employees may not be aware of the dangers posed by certain actions they take or do not take. For instance, if they click on a link in a phishing email. And it’s these very simple actions that can lead to the biggest security issues in the workplace.

Ways Employees Can Cause Cybersecurity Issues

There are many ways employees can cause a cybersecurity risk including:

  • Use unsecured WiFi to access the company network.
  • Store passwords on their computer or mobile devices.
  • Lose company devices (including phones, laptops, and more).
  • Access company networks with personal devices that are not protected with antivirus.
  • Open suspicious emails and/or click on infected links.
  • Accidentally send data to the wrong individual.
  • Use weak passwords and/or one password for all services.

Each one of these risks can happen accidentally. What happens when you multiply these risks by the number of employees working remotely? Yes—you see what we mean. This is why internal security is as important as protecting against external threats.

Tips to Improve Security Against Insider Threats

Here are some methods your company can use to protect against insider threats with a remote workforce.

1). Avoid the Use of Public WiFi

Accessing the company network on an unsecured WiFi connection is a major cybersecurity risk. To cut this risk, it can help to have employees use a personal hotspot from a dedicated device. While this type of connection is not encrypted, it is safer than using public WiFi. The risk of being hacked by people on the public WiFi will be cut.

Another solution is the use of a VPN. A VPN provides a protection that can keep hackers out, while allowing employees to access the data and services they need.

2). Only Work on Company Provided Devices

Personal devices used for work can put the company network and data at risk. For this reason, it’s imperative to have a firm rule that employees are allowed to do work only on company-provided devices. In addition, company devices should not be used by other members of the household.

Another way to protect the company network is to use a cloud service such as Office 365. This makes it much easier for employees to work online and have access to the data and communications they need. Rather than downloading files and data directly to their laptop, employees can instead work in the cloud. There’s no need to sync between a company or personal device.

3). Additional Tips to Keep Company Data Secure

In addition to the steps outlined above, you can also use these steps to keep data secure from insider threats:

  • Educate employees on cybersecurity risks and best practices to avoid these issues.
  • Require strong passwords for all devices that access the company network. In addition, set up a password change every few months (or intervals that work for your company).
  • Require file encryption for all files that must be downloaded or sent, even on company-owned devices.
  • Use multi-factor authentication.

Summing It Up

Many companies are taking steps to protect against external cyberthreats; however, the risk of insider threats is increasing, especially with the move to remote work.

Now’s the time to reassess how vulnerable your company may be to insider threats. Remember, most employees are not out to harm the company. They’re human, as we all are, and make mistakes. Educating employees and creating procedures and rules for accessing company data remotely ensure you’re doing everything possible to keep your business safe.