Data breaches are distressingly common these days. And one of the most disturbing things about them is that companies often don’t know about them as soon as they happen, and once they are discovered, it can take a long time to determine exactly how much damage has been done. Unfortunately, a lot of companies are focusing their security concerns in the wrong places. While it’s obviously important to protect your network from outside threats, some of the biggest threats to your company’s data are coming from inside the building.
Why Are Employees A Cybersecurity Risk?
Even valuable and loyal employees can be cybersecurity risks.
When you think about employees and data breaches, you might be picturing a disgruntled employee out to get even with their boss over some real or perceived slight. And that does happen, but it’s a mistake to limit your understanding of how security breaches happen from the inside to just the idea of angry employees. This can lead you to overlook risks if you believe that you have a dedicated, loyal, tight-knit workforce.
Even the most loyal employee can make a mistake, behave carelessly, or simply underestimate how dangerous a particular action may be. Many cybersecurity breaches occur because employees are poorly trained, careless, or because they choose to use their work devices to perform insecure personal activities.
What Kinds of Employee Actions Lead to Data Breaches?
There are a number of ways that one well-meaning employee can create a cybersecurity headache for their company. Employees who are poorly trained may not recognize potential threats when they see them. It’s easy to be fooled by a phishing email when you’re not aware of what you should be looking for.
Employees may also be vulnerable to these kinds of mistakes when they’re prone to cutting corners. Sometimes even employees who are educated about security risks may skip taking precautions because they believe that it will save time. Employees who are trying to meet tight deadlines or keep up with high workloads may try to access or download sensitive items from their home network, which is likely less secure than yours. Or they may conduct personal business from the office if they’re working long hours and feel that it will save them time at home. And of course, too much downtime can be a problem as well – an employee who doesn’t have enough to do may visit insecure websites or download questionable items on the company network while cyberloafing.
What Should Employers Do?
Training and monitoring can help protect your company against preventable employee mistakes.
Strict internet usage policies and comprehensive training are two of the most important tools for preventing insider threats to data. Your employees need to understand what is safe and what isn’t, and they need to know that violating cybersecurity protocols will result in consequences.
Employee monitoring is another important tool. Your employees will be less likely to try to cut corners or skirt the rules if they know that their activity is being monitored. And you’ll be able to mitigate any damage that does occur more easily if you can see where and when any breaches occur.
To find out more about employee monitoring and how it can help you shore up your company’s cyber defenses, Start your free 7-day trial.