Cyber security is vital for a business with any kind of digital presence, no matter how small (or large) they are
Modern firms that want to make their digital estate secure will often spend fortunes on Security by Design solutions such as firewalls, MFA’s (Multi Factor Authentication), anti-virus and anti-malware software. What many fail to realise however (sometimes to their detriment) is that the biggest weakness in their cyber security isn’t digital in nature at all; it’s their staff.
From Simon in Accounts, clicking a link in a dodgy email for the nineteenth time, to Brenda in Sales logging onto an unsecured Wi-Fi network in a coffee shop without using the VPN because she just ‘had’ to get her caffeine fix and wanted to check her emails; it’s unaware or untrained staff that will cause (but can also prevent) the majority of your problems.
Fortunately, there are several basic cyber security tips you can pass on to your staff to make your business a much less appealing target for cyber scammers, hackers and other unsavoury types.
We discussed this at length in a previous article so won’t belabour the point too much but it really is vital your staff realise that Password1234 (or even Password4321 if they’re trying to be clever) isn’t secure.
The majority of your problems are going to come down to good culture and governance, making sure your staff are digitally aware and empowered to report anything they’re not sure of.
And if you’re worried, it’s a relatively easy job for your IT team to block the use of certain passwords and make sure they have to be changed regularly.
It’s also important your staff realise they shouldn’t be sharing passwords with each other.
In an ideal word you’d be able to trust all your co-workers but a strong cyber security culture has to start with good governance, which sometimes means putting rules into place to protect against that 1% outside chance.
Educate Your Staff On Phishing Scams
Gone are the days of Nigerian Princes asking for your bank details because they’re so impressed with your business acumen… the modern cyber criminal is a lot savvier than that.
Your staff will need to be on the lookout for multiple scams, across the phone, email and social media.
There are specific things they should be looking out for (which we cover more in-depth here ) but again, our biggest tip would be making sure the right culture exists in your workplace.
Get that right and everything else falls into place.
Your IT Team should be running cyber security awareness sessions at least every six months to show your teams examples of good and bad practices as well as updating them on new security measures and common email scams they should be looking out for.
What To Do When Someone Leaves
The majority of cyber security precautions your staff need to take are for ‘what if’ situations. Chances are they’ll never occur but they need to be prepared if they do.
In reality, if Sarah from Marketing retires after twenty years of loyal service, not changing your companies Facebook password probably won’t harm you… but you can never be too careful.
Having good governance in place, with a file showing which member of staff has access to what application is always a good idea.
If they leave, whether that be through choice or especially if not, standard practice should be to immediately revoke their access and change all the passwords for systems they had access to.
Yes it’s annoying, yes it’s ‘faffy’ (especially in companies with a high turnover of staff) but in the long term it’ll pay dividends.
It only takes one disgruntled member of staff for your entire organisations cyber security to be put at risk.
Appoint a Cyber Security Advocate For Each Team
By now it should be obvious that good cyber security is everyone’s responsibility.
On a day to day basis though it can fall back in the priority list behind someone’s regular duties.
To combat this (and depending on the size of your organisation) it may be worth appointing Cyber Security Advocates into each team within your business.
They can almost act as an extension to the IT team, with a much greater understanding of the day to day operations of their department and able to more efficiently spot potential cyber security risks.
Do Your Staff Know What To Do If The Worst Does Happen?
Eventually someone will make a mistake.
The very worst thing that can happen if someone does make a mistake though is to not report it. The sooner a security breech is identified, the sooner steps can be taken to mitigate or solve it.
Discussing culture again, your staff need to be aware that the first port of call should be to your IT Team and that they won’t be in ‘trouble’ for clicking a dodgy link or downloading a piece of software they thought was safe. The important thing is in fixing the problem, not in punishing for it.
Human error will occur and it’s your job to make sure that it doesn’t compound a problem.
Reward Your Employees
Continuing with the theme of how important culture is, if a staff member does identify a malicious email, or you notice someone championing cyber security then reward them!
Once employees realise they won’t get in trouble if they do happen to make a mistake and they can be rewarded for identifying holes in your security then you’ll find it much easier to bed down a culture of strong cyber security withing your organisation.
In the modern office cyber security must be both everyone’s responsibility and everyone’s priority but employers need to realise that staff skill levels won’t all be the same.
Empowering your staff by upskilling them on cyber threats whilst promoting a culture in which threats can be openly discussed and mitigated is the biggest step you can take in protecting your organisation.