Chris Swagler | December 7th, 2021

Employee Security Risk

Every single day, people open emails from unknown senders, curiously click on mysterious links, print out sensitive information and leave it on the printer. When these actions happen at companies, they become major cybersecurity issues. Having IT network security measures, including firewalls, email filtering, and security patches are vitally important for any company. Even with the right security software and monitoring in place, companies may overlook the biggest threat to their network security: their employees. It’s true that most employees are good people and wouldn’t intentionally hurt your business. However, a majority of organizational cyberattacks are not caused by people attempting malicious acts, but by human error resulting in preventable mistakes. Not every employee knows and understands network security best practices. Here are five reasons employees might make your company vulnerable to cyberattacks.

Falling for Phishing and Link Scams

Phishing scams are intended to deceive people into disclosing sensitive information. Falling victim to an email scam is the most common phishing attack companies experience. Employees receive emails appearing to be from legitimate sources; however, the phishing emails’ real purpose is tricking people into providing sensitive information like usernames and passwords. Phishers pretending to be a legitimate company are banking on people installing malicious software or handing over information. To prevent phishers from accessing valuable information, companies need to train and test their employees.

According to a survey conducted by Webroot, 79% of employees notice the difference between a phishing and genuine message. Nevertheless, 49% of employees admit to clicking on a link from an unknown sender and 29% of employees have done this more than once. Many employees believe that companies have the right defense in place to protect against threats; however, with technology continually evolving and phishing attacks and link scams becoming more advanced, companies can’t keep up. It’s important for employees to not always rely on the company’s network defense, but to recognize signs of cyberattacks themselves.

Being a Social Engineering Victim

Social engineering is a business attack that involves manipulating people into breaking normal security procedures, which appeals to their willingness to be helpful. The attacker might pose as a co-worker who has an urgent problem requiring access to additional network resources. Companies need to implement clear security procedures, including documentation for who has access to which pieces of information, so the rules are clear and companies avoid social engineering attacks.

Unrestrained Web Browsing

The internet is an invaluable resource for any job function, though online browsing can sometimes be dangerous. Many web browsers are equipped with features protecting users from unpleasant websites or ads, but the risks still exist. Companies can block employees from accessing malicious websites using web filtering. Web filtering isn’t just used to ensure employees aren’t wasting time watching YouTube or visiting inappropriate sites, it functions to protect your network and maximize workforce productivity.

Bad Password Habits

Companies use several applications, including email, project management tools, and accounting software to make work easier. Employees need to learn best practices for creating and protecting their passwords because proper password management isn’t common sense. Password awareness should include the basics: create secure passwords, never write down passwords, and update passwords every few months. Make password protection a company policy by putting mandatory password changes on the calendar. While employees might complain about having to change passwords and not being allowed to write them down, which makes it difficult to memorize, it’s important to reiterate the safety behind these protocols. Employees should use a password tool to securely save and store all their passwords and configure who has access to which passwords at the user level.

Vulnerable Document Processes

Another security risk to companies is printing, storing, and sending confidential documents. Printers are so common that companies don’t realize the security risk they carry. Modern printers are sophisticated and many are full-fledged networked computers that are vulnerable to cyberattacks if they are not properly updated with password changes and the latest security patches. Employee printing behavior can pose a major risk regarding data theft, so implementing security measures including encrypted connections and properly destroying printer hard drives should be implemented. Here are several document-related employee habits that could jeopardize your company.

Proper education, awareness, and policies can change these habits. Once company leadership understands the document security risks with the organization, the right measures can be implemented to prevent damage.

In any healthy business IT plan, monitoring and security software are crucial components. However, companies can’t overlook the human element of cyber security. Companies should ensure that employees have the proper tools and training when it comes to protecting their business from a cyberattack. That’s why it’s crucial for companies to stay current with the latest threat landscape and improve cyber security training and policies within the company.

At SpearTip, our certified engineers are continuously monitoring your networks 24/7 at our Security Operations Centers for potential threats of a cyberattack. When dealing with potential cybersecurity threats within a company, the best way to stay one step ahead of any threat is being proactive. Our ShadowSpear platform, our endpoint detection and response tool, working in tandem with our Security Operations Center as a Service, can identify, neutralize and counter potential threats from infiltrating your company’s network and causing harm. Advisory services, such as a pre-breach assessment, can increase your cyber resilience and uncover organizational vulnerabilities at all levels.

If your company is experiencing a breach, call our Security Operations Centers at 833.997.7327 to speak directly with an engineer.