Cyber Security & Compliance

7 Cybersecurity Tips For a Safer Workplace

7 Cybersecurity Tips For a Safer Workplace

by Brad Ancell - June 26, 2024

Whether intentional or not, employees can pose a big threat to organizations. A recent report by the Ponemon Institute found that insider threat incidents increased by 44% over the last couple of years, costing roughly $13.38 million per incident. 

The need is clear: while not all, most employees are well-intentioned yet undereducated regarding cybersecurity. The good news? This is something every organization can improve with strong cybersecurity tips and training.

With teams spread across different locations and devices, safeguarding sensitive information has become more critical (and complex) than ever before. As we navigate the intricacies of cybersecurity initiatives, let’s explore cybersecurity tips for employees to follow to protect themselves and their organizations from potential cyber threats. 

Understanding Cybersecurity

Cybersecurity is the practice of safeguarding digital systems, networks, and data from unauthorized access, exploitation, or damage. It encompasses various technologies, processes, and practices to prevent, detect, and respond to cyber threats. Regardless of one's role, understanding cybersecurity basics is crucial to maintaining a secure work environment.

With the global average cost of a data breach rapidly increasing, organizations are opening their eyes to the risk—and, importantly—the cost of poor cybersecurity practices. According to the Cost of a Data Breach Report, 51% of organizations plan to increase security investments due to a breach. The findings are simple: with millions of individuals and organizations experiencing cyberattacks each year, the cost of prevention is far less than that of a breach.

Common Digital Threats and Vulnerabilities

Cybersecurity tip one: understand all possible threats. In the cybersecurity threat landscape, there are predictable threats we see compromise organizations time and time again. While cybercriminals continue to evolve how they utilize these tactics, being aware of the most common threats and entry points can help employees protect themselves from preventable attacks.

The most common cybersecurity threats include: 

  • Phishing attacks: Perhaps the most common and easy-to-fall-for approach, phishing involves tricking individuals into divulging sensitive information like account numbers, passwords, or company records. 
  • Malware: Software designed to disrupt, damage, or gain unauthorized access, malware attacks computer systems to wreak havoc.
  • Ransomware: Commonly used by cybercriminals to turn a profit, ransomware is a type of malicious software designed to block access to a computer system until a sum of money is paid. 
  • Social engineering tactics: In social engineering attacks, cybercriminals use deception to manipulate individuals into divulging confidential or personal information that may be used for fraudulent purposes. 

Vulnerability points in an organization are how malicious actors gain access to internal systems. Employees should be vigilant of these common points of vulnerability:

  • Email
  • Links and attachments (commonly sent via email)
  • Weak passwords
  • Shared passwords
  • Absence of multi-factor authentication (MFA)
  • Unsecured Wi-Fi connections

With this knowledge, employees need actionable cybersecurity tips to prevent data breaches within their organization.

Cybersecurity Tips for Employees and Employers

A report by CybSafe uncovered that 90% of data breaches are caused by human error. The following cybersecurity tips are proactive measures your organization can implement now to protect against preventable attacks on your data security.

1. Use Strong Passwords 

The first cybersecurity tip—start with the basics. Choose complex passwords that are difficult to guess, which means avoiding the use of easily accessible information such as your name, birthdate, or common words and numbers (i.e., 12345, asdf, password, etc.). 

Consider using a password manager to generate and store unique passwords for each account. Never reuse passwords, as doing so exposes widespread risk. If someone has access to one account, they suddenly have access to everything.

2. Enable MFA

While this cybersecurity tip will add some time for your team to login to their accounts, consider adding an extra layer of security through multi-factor authentication (MFA), which significantly enhances your account defenses. By requiring a second form of verification, such as a code sent to your phone or generated by an authentication app, unauthorized access can be thwarted even if your password is compromised. MFA matters because most cybercriminals fail when they hit MFA. 

3. Secure Network Connections 

Set up virtual private networks (VPNs) for employees to encrypt data transmission and secure connections when accessing company resources from remote locations. Additionally, ensure that Wi-Fi networks used by remote workers are secure and not vulnerable to eavesdropping.

4. Keep Software Updated 

Ensure that your email host, antivirus software, and operating system are up to date. Software updates often include patches for known vulnerabilities, helping to minimize the risk of exploitation by cyber threats. A major benefit of working with a managed service provider is the assurance that software is regularly updated.

5. Backup Your Data 

In the event of a security breach or data loss, having regular backups can be a lifesaver. Whether you opt for cloud-based backups, physical storage solutions, or a combination, regularly backing up your essential data ensures you can quickly recover from any unexpected incidents.

6. Keep an Incident Response Plan 

Prepare for the worst-case scenario by developing a comprehensive incident response plan. Define clear procedures for identifying, containing, and mitigating cybersecurity incidents and ensure that all team members are familiar with their roles and responsibilities in the event of a breach.

7. Educate Yourself and Your Team 

Stay informed about the latest security threats and educate yourself–and your team members if you are a manager–about best practices for cybersecurity. Regular training sessions can help raise awareness and empower individuals to recognize and respond effectively to potential risks.

Ongoing Vigilance: Cybersecurity Tips for The Future

Here’s the truth: cybersecurity is a shared responsibility that requires active participation from every employee. By staying informed about emerging threats, adhering to cybersecurity tips and best practices, and participating in ongoing training and awareness programs offered by their organization, employees can play a pivotal role in safeguarding sensitive data and preserving the integrity of their digital workspace. 

The future of cybersecurity is in the hands of employees and stakeholders alike. If you are ready to prioritize cybersecurity for your organization, request our free network assessment to give yourself – and your employees – the best chance at continued cyber safety. 

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