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Keeping Employees Safe from Cyber-Attacks: Easy Strategies for Every Business
by Amanda Green Wed, 11/09/2016 - 10:41
Cyber-attacks are at an all-time high; even just recently we’ve seen a host of attacks which caused a blackout of such services as PayPal, Twitter, and Reddit, many of which could have been protected through the better use of encryption technologies in email servers. This includes distributed networks to reduce data loads, sweeping changes to security policies, and the use of encrypted drives like those from SecureUSB, to prevent petty theft which results in felony-level privacy leaks.
These are billion dollar businesses… imagine what could happen if a malicious attack is aimed at your small business!
The recent attacks are most likely political or have been conducted in the attempt at some form of ransom but even still it paints a very real picture of the possibilities; a single individual (from the outside or a disgruntled, past employee) can often shut down operations of a business for days on end if they know and are vindictive enough.
Security is an effort that is meant for everyone to participate.
It’s not to say that you will never experience an outage or attack due to cyber-attacks through the duration of your business operations but it is telling to those that are willing if you operate in a manner that doesn’t take it seriously.
More-and-more today we see businesses hand over the private information to employees through a “Bring Your Own Device” environment; the type where employees bring their device, can do their work from their machines, and then exit the premise with the very same data contained but in an uncontrollable environment.
The BYOD device movement is fantastic for cutting costs and introducing new technologies with ease but there IS an inherent problem and that comes in the form of security.
Cyber-attacks on employees happen in a very basic methodology:
· Outdated policies
Phishing generally happens in a business environment when an individual falsely represents themselves as a person of power to extract information. A competitor or malicious individual may phone into customer service, claim to be a customer, and use that information to extract private, financial records from an unexpected employee.
To combat the common forms of phishing, a business needs to create a policy in which every individual of the company understands the common techniques of phishing in the hacking community. There also needs to be a layer of privacy in which personal information is not given unless a two-step process is completed such as through personal and business verification via social security numbers, addresses, account-bound questions, or financial information.
Outdated policies would be a category that would lump together such issues as failing to update software, a lack of hardware protection, or the proper contracting of work to ensure businesses information is retained within the company.
Managing this area of topic comes two-fold: it needs to be hardware and software-based to benefit. On the hardware side benefits when employees are presented with resources that are naturally fit to encrypt and protect data such as doing off-site backups of the data. On the software end it’s a mix of educating what constitutes a phishing/social engineering hack and malicious links/downloads that may lead to a corruption of the systems. In this regard, a strong firewall, virus program, and dedicated security experts will be beneficial for those that take it seriously.
Malware is also a very common issue with a company as it grows; a single point of entry could infect an entire network if the network administrator is off their game. These attacks can often originate through spoofing official links from a trusted network or an employee using their spare time and accidentally infecting their machine from a site to which they may not have been approved to use.
Malware and other forms of infections are very serious and should be dealt with accordingly. An individual to handle the operations is best for those without experience but even on a small scale, it’s possible to deter and often block these events through an understanding of security policy and limiting the usage of workplace machines to employees. The general line of thinking is to keep only what’s is absolutely necessary in terms of customer information; anything more means you have a lot to lose in the event of an attack.
Follow this line of thinking and your business will survive the majority of attacks that are likely to happen every day; it’s not a 100% block to those that are dedicated enough but it’s often more than enough to stop the majority – with cyber-security you have to hope for the best but plan for the worst.
About the author
Amanda Green is a site contributor that often writes on personal finance, marketing and business. In her free time she enjoys reading and playing volleyball with family and friends. Her work may also be found on http://www.paidtwice.com