The human element plays a considerable role in the enhancement of cybersecurity. You can invest and have the latest technology for the security of your data, information, and system. You can even use end-to-end encryption, firewalls, virtual private networks (VPNs) to keep your business secure. But if your employees aren’t doing their part, whether intentionally or unintentionally, your efforts could amount to zero.
In fact, one study showed that almost 90% of cyberattacks arise from human habits or errors. This adds to the complexity of cybersecurity practices and strategy. While employees aren’t perfect, you can help them develop better habits that help improve cybersecurity within the organization. Here are eight habits that can significantly help in that regard.
- Scrutinizing Emails, Links, And Attachments
It’s possible to break most habits surrounding cybersecurity practices at work. An article at Beryllium Info Sec subtly describes how to break bad habits and develop new ones. Among them is taking time to check an email source, instead of opening and clicking on pop-ups or links right away.
Cybercriminals target businesses by sending fraudulent communications that imitate reputable sources and are mainly performed through emails. These attacks are called phishing. The goal is usually to place spyware and malware in the recipient’s device and steal sensitive data or log-in credentials. It mainly happens through email.
Too many of these attacks occur because a staff member wasn’t keen enough to notice the discrepancy between a fake email and a reputable source. Clicking on attachments and links in such emails triggers the downloading of malicious software. So teach your employees to develop a habit of treating every email with scrutiny to help mitigate threats that come through this vulnerability.
- Use Of Strong Passwords
If passwords are used correctly, they’re among the simplest yet highly effective ways to protect information technology systems and data against unauthorized access. However, many employees make it a habit to continually use passwords in ways that expose businesses to risk. To combat this, ensure you have a password policy that stresses the importance of strong passwords and regular password changing.
Strong passwords are difficult to guess and don’t contain obvious phrases but instead consist of random numbers, letters, and characters. They are also long, preferably eight characters or more. Ideally, passwords should be different for each account one holds, even when they’re difficult to remember since they can be easily sorted out with a good password manager.
- Enabling Firewall Protection
A firewall is among the first lines of defense when trying to protect your business from cyberattacks. Whether employees are working from the office or home, their devices should have the firewall enabled at all times. Firewalls scan incoming network traffic and prevent unauthorized access to the company’s website and other information sources that are accessible from the web.
- Installing Regular Software Updates
Every software has some degree of vulnerability that can potentially lead to a cyberattack if not mitigated. Luckily, software developers are constantly looking for these vulnerabilities and creating patches in the form of updates.
To ensure these updates are implemented, it’s a good cybersecurity habit for employees to keep applications, software, and operating systems up to date. Unfortunately, many employees delay or postpone installing updates, thus missing out on the fixes that should ward off attacks. It’s best practice, therefore, to remind your employees to enable automatic updates or develop a habit of updating their software as soon and as often as possible.
- Connecting To Secure Networks
With remote settings catching up as an alternative work mode, employees can carry out their tasks from anywhere, including public places such as libraries or cafés. However, this can open up the business to potential security threats. Unsecured networks are dangerous as hackers can quickly gain access to web traffic and intercept data.
A good employee practice is to connect to private networks or use a VPN to mask IP addresses and encrypt data. Notably, not all VPNs are the same, so your business should get only the services of reputable VPN providers for maximum protection.
- Observing Confidentiality
Nobody goes around sharing their data with anyone who cares to ask. You employees should similarly develop a habit of caution and confidentiality and avoid sharing company information with just anyone. This may sound rather obvious, but it’s crucial not to leak any company information.
Not all emails or calls are genuine or worth responding to. Someone could just be looking to steal company data. There are also those leaks that happen accidentally, such as unintentionally showing sensitive information by sharing a photo that reveals what’s on their computer screen in the background.
- Treating Company Hardware With Care
In addition to using secure networks in public places, teams working remotely or anywhere shouldn’t leave their devices unattended. However, some employees may habitually leave their work devices unattended in public areas, and someone can take advantage of that and steal information. Thus, train your employees to take care of office devices as they do their own.
- Keeping A Clean Desk And Logout
Habitually, many people write down login credentials and passwords on sticky notes and leave them in readily accessible places for convenience. They can also leave essential documents lying around that carry sensitive data that can allow unauthorized persons to access accounts.
To avoid this, employees should learn to keep tidy desks and to log out of all accounts at the end of the day. This can help reduce the chances of information loss or unauthorized access to devices and accounts.
Cybersecurity is a crucial issue, and everyone in the organization should be on the same page in protecting business and customer information. Luckily, a few changes in your team habits can go a long way in enhancing business cybersecurity.