Preventing the Common IT Security Breaches at the Workplace
Did you know that the vast majority of security breaches aren’t caused by hackers? According to statistics, up to 84.7 percent of all data breaches — through malware, phishing, ransomware, and the sorts — are caused by human error. The main reason why employee-caused breaches are so dangerous is there’s no amount of security software that can prevent them. Instead, they are impacted by the mindset that you cultivate within your organization when it comes to online security.
Of course, this isn’t to say tools won’t have an effect at all in preventing such breaches. As a matter of fact, tools will play a huge role in achieving a more secure network for your business. But at the end of the day, your company’s data won’t be safe unless the people who are expected to handle it does so responsibly. In this post, we will discuss six proven strategies that will prevent data breaches at the workplace.
Let’s get started.
1. Employee Training is Your Number One Priority
We cannot stress this enough; a robust cybersecurity training program will be your catalyst to business data security.
Always remember that, in business, cybersecurity is a team effort. Everyone in charge of handling, reviewing, analyzing, processing, and utilizing your data must be aware of the fundamental security practices that can ensure the integrity and privacy of crucial information. Unfortunately, this isn’t always the case. Weak passwords, phishing scams, unsecured public Wi-Fi networks, infected flash drives — there are so many ways employees can endanger your organization’s security. That’s why providing them with information security training should be priority number one. This will involve the rest of the strategies that will be outlined in this post. For now, the first step is to come up with rewards that can keep your team motivated throughout the training, such as comp times, gift certificates, branded merchandise, and cash bonuses.
2. Encourage Good Password Hygiene
The lack of good password hygiene is perhaps the easiest workplace security issue to fix. Believe it or not, even professionals can be guilty of sticking with weak passwords, like “qwerty123,” “letmein,” and “12345.” If you think this is bad, keep in mind that people also tend to reuse the same passwords for multiple accounts. This could exponentially worsen the ramifications of potential cyber-attacks. Just imagine your content management system, cloud backups, and email account being hacked on the same day.
The good news is, you don’t have to rely solely on your employees to implement the use of safe passwords. A password manager like LastPass or Dashlane will enable them to use secure, randomized passwords for each account without having to remember them all.
3. Use Two-Factor Authentication
Speaking of password managers, most of them are equipped with a two-factor authentication feature that adds an extra layer of protection against brute force attacks. A two-factor authentication system utilizes two verification steps before users are granted access. Typically, this involves a one-time password sent via email or SMS for each login attempt.
Some two-factor authentication tools like Authy also let you use fingerprints as an authentication step. These can be implemented for your accounts on email services, social media, e-commerce stores, and even password managers.
For mobile devices, apps like the Microsoft Authenticator and Google Authenticator are among the top alternatives.
4. Protect Against DDoS Attacks
You probably know what a DDoS or Distributed Denial of Service attack is. It’s the process that utilizes a massive network of infected systems — also called a “botnet” — to overwhelm a server’s network capacity and deny access to real users. In some cases, DDoS attacks are merely precursors to even bigger threats, particularly ransom attacks wherein hackers would demand payment before they lift the service disruption.
That said, it’s always better to prevent them rather than rely on an incident response team or a messy cleanup process. If your web host doesn’t have built-in DDoS protection, then your first option is to use a Web Application Firewall or WAF service. A CDN or Content Delivery Network can also protect against DDoS attacks by mitigating the flood of malicious traffic. Put simply, a CDN is a group of proxy servers that share the workload of storing and transferring website data to users — often bundled with WAF and DDoS mitigation tools.
CDNs also come with performance benefits due to the fact that their proxy servers are globally-distributed. This significantly reduces the latency that users get regardless of since they are serviced by the nearest server available.
5. Subscribe to a Virtual Private Network
If you allow your employees to work remotely on occasion or outsource freelancers as a cost-cutting tactic, you may want to use a Virtual Private Network or VPN service. In a nutshell, VPNs provide a “tunnel” of encryption that can keep your employees’ online connection private. This protects your business from digital eavesdropping, which is the act of intercepting online communications in an attempt to obtain sensitive information, such as credit card numbers and login credentials.
Digital eavesdropping proliferates through unsecured, open Wi-Fi networks that may be available at parks, libraries, malls, and other public places. They are, however, unlikely to affect your private business network as long as you have the essential security software and policies in effect.
6. Use a Mobile Device Management Tool
BYOD or Bring Your Own Device is one of the prominent trends in workplaces these past few years. While it can help boost the workforce’s productivity by allowing employees to use their personal devices, it may compromise the integrity of your organization’s security through attack vectors like malware infections and data theft through stolen devices.
An MDM or Mobile Device Management software would be a great place to start. It allows IT administrators to monitor and manage all devices connected to your business network as well as enforce policies that control the access privileges of employees. In case a device gets stolen or goes missing, you can simply remove that device from your network altogether.
Hexnode is a good example of an MDM software that has the fundamental features you need. It allows you to block access to certain mobile apps and track the physical location of all devices if they’re currently connected to your network.
If you need a free alternative to Hexnode, you can try the Comodo MDM tool that supports all iOS, Android, and Windows mobile devices.
In business, workplace productivity and security should go hand in hand. You can’t just ignore the protection of your business data and focus purely on growth. The strategies above will help you get all hands on deck when it comes to workplace security. These should provide you with an environment where everyone can focus on their duties and contribute to your business’ success and sustainability. Cheers!