Improving Information Security through Increased Employee Awareness

Improving Information Security through Increased Employee Awareness

As the IT landscape evolves, cybersecurity becomes a big concern for enterprises. Threat actors are developing newer ways and smarter tools to get access to systems. Companies must ensure employees stay abreast of these risks and not fall prey to them.

In late 2020, the data of 103 million users of Capital One was exposed, causing a loss of $300 million to the company.

The reason was that an Amazon employee stole customer records. These included social security numbers, credit card information, and other personally identifiable information.

This is just one of the instances where a company lost millions due to an employee.

It could be a careless third-party vendor who can mistakenly leak sensitive information about clients or the company. While data theft is critical, many such breaches also occur due to employee error.

A CybelAngel study finds that almost  90% of data breaches are due to negligence. They could easily have been prevented with proper cybersecurity training, processes, and tools.

Employees need to be sensitized to the seriousness of this risk. They may be over-enthusiastic and rush past proper security systems and procedures. It could be to save time, but the impact is far-reaching.

Employees are the most vulnerable link in the company’s security network. Hence, they must be well-trained on how to keep data safe. The best practices of usage and policies need to be clear.

Kaspersky IT Security Economics survey 2022 respondents say that most ‘Data leakages of internal systems caused either by cyberattacks (23%) or employees (22%)’.

Therefore, companies must have documented policies for employees to ensure risk awareness and online security.

Employees and Information Security Concerns

Employees play a crucial role in maintaining information security within an organization. However, protecting sensitive data needs addressing several concerns.

Employees should know that sharing personal information for any reason might be risky. Employee systems should have the latest antivirus software and practice setting up complex passwords.

One significant concern is more employee awareness about security protocols and best practices. To address this, companies must have regular training sessions with documented dos and don’ts to practice.

Another concern is the potential for employees to fall victim to social engineering tactics or phishing attacks. This can lead to data breaches. Implementing email filtering and conducting simulated phishing exercises can help employees recognize and avoid suspicious emails.

Companies should encourage employees to follow strict data procedures while handing confidential data. A set of guidelines should be in place to state how to store, share, and dispose of sensitive information.

Unauthorized access to company systems and data is a concern as well. Robust access controls in place will ensure that employees can only access the information required for their job roles.

The use of personal devices for work-related tasks can pose security risks. Implementing a security policy and guidelines for Bring Your Device (BYOD) – can help mitigate these risks.

Security Concerns with Personal Mobile Devices

Many organizations allow personal mobile devices for working for employees, particularly in remote working models. These devices present significant security concerns within companies.

  • Data Loss/Theft

If lost or stolen, mobile devices can expose sensitive information. Hence, companies should enforce strong device encryption and remote wiping capabilities to address this. This ensures the data remains safe, even if a device is lost.

  • Unauthorized Access

Unauthorized individuals can gain access to company data from an unsecured portable device. Implementing extra layers of security like strong/complex passwords and multi-factor authentication can prevent this.

  • Malware and Viruses

Mobile devices are easily infected with malware and viruses and this can compromise the security of sensitive data. Regularly updating the device software, and installing reliable antivirus software can help. Also, companies should also prohibit the installation of apps  from unknown sources.

  • Insecure Wi-Fi Connections

Public Wi-Fi networks can expose devices to potential attacks. Encouraging employees to be careful when connecting to public Wi-Fi helps encrypt their data and protect against possible threats.

  • Data Leakage

Employees might unknowingly leak sensitive information through mobile devices, like sharing confidential files via insecure messaging apps. Educating employees about secure communication tools and implementing data loss prevention measures can help.

  • Bring Your Device (BYOD) Risks

Establishing a clear BYOD policy with security guidelines can help manage security risks. These policies can Include mandatory security software and regular device audits.

  • Physical Security

Leaving portable devices unattended in public spaces can lead to physical breaches. Employees should be educated about keeping their devices secure and cautious in public areas.

  • Regular Auditing and Monitoring

Companies should regularly audit and monitor portable devices to ensure compliance with security policies. This includes checking for unauthorized software, ensuring machines are up-to-date, and verifying encryption settings.

Also Read: Top Five Information Security Program Pitfalls Enterprises Must Address

Summing Up

As cyberattacks increase in complexity and number, security teams should make practical strategies to encounter them. Employees have a vital role in maintaining the company’s information security. Companies should implement an effective security system to minimize breaches through employee negligence.

Most of the breaches that happen in a company are due to human error. So, companies must ensure ongoing information security awareness training for employees.

So, the success of an information security team lies in adhering to all the best practices. Companies should perform penetration tests to eliminate all threats.

CSOs should encourage and guide the team to sustain well-documented information security practices in companies.

For more such updates follow us on Google News ITsecuritywire News. Please subscribe to our Newsletter for more updates.