You know that your employees are vital to the success of your business. You may not know that they’re also the biggest threat to your data security.
A cybercriminal’s most effective weapon is good old-fashioned human error. Just one employee following a bad link or divulging confidential information can open your network up to a multitude of threats. That’s why it’s so important that your employees receive security awareness training regularly.
Hacking has become big business, leading to a huge leap in the number of bad actors lurking in cyberspace. The barriers to entry are low enough that anyone with an internet connection and bad intentions can conduct cyber attacks from anywhere on the planet. More hackers and more types of scams inevitably translate to more frequent attacks. Chances are your business has already been targeted.
Even if you’re up on all of the latest phishing techniques, you may not realize that the cybersecurity battleground extends beyond the computer screen. Cybercriminals will pick up the phone and call your business, pretending to be a prospective customer, asking questions like “Who’s in charge of your customer service?” Or they might pose as another company in your industry and ask who handles your I.T., under the guise of looking for a new provider. If one of your employees unwittingly gives up that information, it’s easy for the hacking organization to call back claiming to be your I.T. provider and ask for access to your network.
Impersonating the people you do business with has become a standard phishing technique, and it’s easy for hackers to do it via email. A hacker tried it recently on one of our clients. When they received an email from what appeared to be the client’s CFO asking for a wire transfer to an existing vendor with a new account number, it seemed normal enough. That’s because the hacker who sent the email was able to do a little research on LinkedIn and determine who the CFO was and who reported to the CFO and would, therefore, be trusted with a task like this. The hacker crafted a realistic email, referencing a real vendor account to serve as bait.
Luckily, our client was trained to identify this type of attack and picked up the phone to confirm before placing the wire transfer. When this type of ploy succeeds, criminals can close their bank account and disappear with your money forever. That’s an incredible ROI for the hacker, and it happens on a regular basis.
Knowledge Is Power
Depending on your industry, it may make sense to invest heavily in cybersecurity software and tools. If so, great — but don’t make the mistake of assuming that’s enough to protect your data security. No matter what size your company is or what industry you’re in, security awareness training for employees is going to be critical to protecting your business.
If you already have I.T. support — whether in-house or outsourced to a service provider — they should be able to give you regular training materials that keep everyone in your company aware of security best practices and abreast of the latest threats. If your I.T. service provider doesn’t offer this type of service, then you might want to look for a new provider.
There is also a wealth of third-party services offering subscription-based security awareness training. In particular, companies like KnowBe4 provide employees with educational content — usually in the form of short videos — to help them recognize phishing, fraud, and malware and to learn risk mitigation techniques. For the first half of the training, your employees may participate in guided learning, while the second half might consist of a test requiring employees to distinguish between legitimate emails and spam.
There are phishing emails arriving in your employees’ inboxes every single day. And every day, unsuspecting internet users click on ads that look legitimate but are actually malware, opening companies up to infection. Invest in educating your employees, and your company won’t be one of them.
If your business is located near Kansas City or St. Louis and you’d like to learn more about implementing a Cybersecurity Awareness Training plan for your company, call The Purple Guys I.T. Support today. We’ll walk you through what it looks like and how your business can stay ahead of security threats by creating a dependable defense through your employees.