5 Ways Your Employees Could Become Susceptible to Cyber Attacks

A screen displaying coding language.

No matter the cybersecurity policy you have in place, your frontline of defence when it comes to your organisation’s cyber safety is your employees.

A major access point for cyber attackers, employees are continuing to increase their digital footprint and for many, are unaware of the risks or the way they’re contributing to a business’s increased vulnerability when it comes to cybersecurity.

How can businesses minimise risk?

There are several ways that businesses and organisations can minimise the risk when it comes to employee’s vulnerability to a cyber-attack. Implementing security software across the organisation, for example the ZTNA solution for business is one way that you can minimise the chances of cyber-attack — and manage changes in tactics by hackers.

Education is key when it comes to employees taking their role seriously as a first line of defence. Cyber security awareness courses can inform employees of how important their position is within the company’s cybersecurity strategy. It can also teach them ways to stay safe online, how to identify phishing emails, be safe on social media and much more.

Investing in these types of tools and educational courses benefits organisations as part of any cybersecurity program that’s in place — strengthening their defences against attack and giving them peace-of-mind.

So, let’s look at 5 of the keyways that your employees could become susceptible to cyber-attacks.

Weak Passwords

It may sound simple, but having a weak password is a key area that hackers can use to obtain business data, gain access to your company’s networks and more.

Think your employees are in-the-know about the importance of creating a strong password? Think again. According to research, the password “123456” is still being used by 23 million account holders. 51% of people use the same passwords for their business and personal accounts, and an astonishing 57% of people who have been scammed in phishing attacks have yet to change their password.

It’s important to educate employees on the significance of passwords and the impact it can have on maintaining your organisation’s cybersecurity health.

Missing updates

Updating software seems easy enough – but it can often be forgotten or planned for a later date. These updates and patches exist to keep your software in defence mode when it comes to cyber-attacks; by prolonging patches you can put your company at a serious risk. Software that’s un-patched also attracts malware.

Scheduling company-wide regular software update sessions can help to prevent the risk of allowing individual employees to press the button on updating on their own.

Phishing emails

Phishing emails are one of the most common ways that people fall victim to cyber crime. As hackers get smarter with these emails, making them increasingly more difficult to identify over real ones, more employees are opening email attachments or clicking on links that contribute to attacks. Almost 3.4 billion phishing emails are sent out each day, making it difficult for businesses to manage.

As mentioned above, it’s important to keep your employees educated – in this case, being able to identify some of the tell-tale signs of a phishing email. This can be everything from spotting any spelling mistakes, to confirming the email address is correct each time. It’s important to consistently share the markers of phishing emails with employees so they can better understand how they look and sound – as well as making them feel confident that they can reach out to the IT department with any concerns.

Social engineering

Outside of emails, social media is a hotspot for cyber criminals looking to socially engineer your employees into clicking unsecure links.

As more people than ever have their own social media profiles over multiple platforms like LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook, it’s important that they’re educated on how social media can play a threat to your business’s cybersecurity. Just like in the case of phishing emails, hackers are becoming smarter at replicating real profiles or creating clickbait that can leave your business vulnerable.

That’s why it’s integral to keep updated and informed — and ahead of the game when it comes to your cybersecurity and the latest ways that hackers are looking to access your valuable data.

Data breaches

As the popularity of remote and hybrid working increases, so too does the potential for data breaches. According to recent studies, globally 16% of companies are fully remote, with 62% of workers aged 22 to 65 revealing they work remotely on occasion. With remote working looking like it’s here to stay, it can create issues around security and network safety for IT teams.

Businesses can’t always be sure where their employees will be working from – whether it’s home, a cafe or a co-working space – or whether the network is secure. It’s important that as organisations move towards the trend of operating remote working policies, that cybersecurity considerations are prioritised alongside it.

About Carson Derrow

My name is Carson Derrow I'm an entrepreneur, professional blogger, and marketer from Arkansas. I've been writing for startups and small businesses since 2012. I share the latest business news, tools, resources, and marketing tips to help startups and small businesses to grow their business.