Cybercrimes have become more organized and complicated than ever before, which is a fact that each organization and company must realize.
And it has been concluded by a study that employee negligence is the biggest cybersecurity risk to US business.
Actually, it’s been reported that almost 90% of cyber attacks are caused by human error or behavior.
All the facts and figures indicate the universality of cybersecurity risk and the necessity of improving all-around cybersecurity awareness. The improvement of employee’s cybersecurity awareness is beneficial to stop organizations or companies from potential online risks and economic loss.
Why Should Companies Increase Cybersecurity Awareness Among Their Employees?
Employees’ Weak Cybersecurity Awareness
Employees usually underestimate their significance to their organizations’ cybersecurity strategy. They generally believe companies have higher security measures and stronger firewalls than the network they use at home so that their network is safe enough to defeat cyberattacks. Therefore, they are more relaxing as they use their company’s computer and network.
Moreover, employees use the device belonging to their company or organization to deal with company things only, mostly. Their own important accounts, like PayPal or Amazon, are seldom signed in or used on their company’s computer so they don’t need to watch out for potential risk. After all, their company’s cybersecurity is not so important as their money. However, as their own PCs or laptops are used, they usually watch out for each of their clicks because a careless click may suffer them from economic loss.
Increasing Popularity and Implementation of Remote Work
Remote work has become a reality of many employees due to mobile and cloud technologies. Plus, the pandemic COVID-19 in 2020 accelerates the practice of remote work. Twitter even allows their employees to work from home forever and Google and Facebook extend their work from home policies until 2021.
Up to now, more than half of the labors in the US work from home. More than 40% of companies provide flexible work or work from home policies to their employees. About 4 billion employees in the US work from home for at least half of their working time or work at home for two to three days per week.
Remote work not only provides convenience but also brings forward potential online risks to companies and organizations. The end-to-end remote network ensures employees are able to connect back with the network in their office. Moreover, employees must know about the cybersecurity responsibilities and practices that should be used on any personal device, or companies need to provide devices with security functions accepted by companies to employees. That’s the fundamental aspects.
The significance of cybersecurity awareness improvement isn’t limited within personal business. The internet runs everywhere around the globe so that chain reactions will probably damage single organization and public enterprises.
During the past 20 years, cybersecurity laws have been drafted in states and federals that require companies to strengthen the cybersecurity awareness of employees, partners, and providers. Even higher requirements are set to some businesses like medical care, finance and government contractors.
Massive Application of IoT
Hardware, software and the internet are connected through Internet of Things (IoT) technology. The more communications between devices and network there are, the more bugs there will be for hackers. After all, the mobile devices carried by most employees in the modern time aren’t equipped with preventive measures concerning to the risks like malware, phishing, etc.
Leading Types of Potential Risks that are Commonly Aroused in Companies by Employees with low Cybersecurity Awareness
Email security still tops the list of potential online risks even though numerous communications are available today. Phishing email and malware rooting still can seduce employees to click or download so that cybersecurity risks are caused.
Most online risks are caused by careless clicks. Employees should be aware that only official software can be downloaded and installed so as to protect devices from malware. They should also learn some easy measures beneficial to cybersecurity like constant updating software, using a VPN to hide IP address, etc.
Applications of Social Media and Internet
Social media and internet contribute to the highest risk of cyberattacks. Currently, social media platforms play an increasingly important role in business marketing. Not a tool for personal communication or entertainment, social media are more used by organizations to attract customers and branding. If employees use social media carelessly, online potential risks will be caused as well.
Based on statistics, cyberattacks take place per 39 seconds. Weak passwords or one password for all sites will decrease cybersecurity. Employees should be aware of all risks caused by inappropriate application of passwords or weak passwords like “123456” or “qwerty”. They should know strong password and two-factor authentication are both beneficial to improve cybersecurity.
General Methods to Improve Employee’s Cybersecurity Awareness. Do they work?
Cybersecurity awareness training is the most commonly used measure to educate employees. However, it doesn’t work and cost a lot.
Training is usually implemented in almost each company by company’s network administrator and it is done through easy face-to-face conference. It mainly tells you what to do and what you should never do. Such cybersecurity awareness training is regularly held to remind employees of the same knowledge. Some companies purchase training courses from professional companies and the courses may be interesting and professional but it costs so much that it fails to be held regularly.
Some companies launch reward and punishment measures to employees, mostly single punishment. It’s a little embarrassing to punish phishing victims or those who misdiagnose phishing simulations because the punishment fails to meet the economic loss of a company or organization even if the punished victim is fired.
Apart from Training, there is Still Much You Can Do to Improve Employees’ Cybersecurity Awareness.
Set a Position for Cybersecurity
It’s someone telling them not to do this or not to do that in a boring way that isn’t what employees need. They need someone that is able to direct them on all clicks during the process in which their job things are dealt with.
A cybersecurity expert can be set as a position for each department, available to provide support in terms of cybersecurity. They keep alert to all phishing messages and once a risk is sensed, they will at once inform the whole company to stop the attack.
Provide Sufficient Resources and Tools
Companies or organizations should provide automated tools to employees so as to guarantee the cybersecurity to replace a tool calling for complicated steps.
For example, if companies expect their employees to use strong passwords, please provide a password manager that is capable of generating strong passwords and keeping them in a secure way.
Or if phishing emails are found in a company, an email alert system should be used to automatically warn all staff about the risk.
Stop telling them to be cautious about hackers, just start using a Decentralized VPN to ensure all their data communications can be well protected in an encrypted tunnel established by VPN.
Purchase official software like Office, Adobe Reader, etc. to stop employees randomly downloading software from malicious websites.