Why You Should Consider Employees Your Biggest Cybersecurity Risk

It is popularly believed that humans are the weakest security link in the IT security industry. Humans are a part of the overall network security of an organisation, and are prone to make mistakes. Even the most secure companies encounter human errors.

CompTIA affirms that 52% of security breaches are a product of human error. However, most of these breaches are unintentional. Hackers are brilliant and don’t need to wait for an amplified opportunity before striking. Instead, they identify an entry point that will enable them to break into the organisation’s network. 

Although organisations face various cybersecurity risks from external actors, insider attacks facilitated unknowingly by employees are, without a doubt, the biggest.

Let’s examine some of the reasons that employees’ security vulnerabilities put your company at risk. 

5 Reasons Employees Are Your Biggest Security Risk

1. Little or No Effort to Implement Security Policies

A standard security policy encourages employees to implement healthy practices that keep the organisation safe. What would be the company’s fate if employees do not adhere to these safe practices?

There are numerous cases where employees intentionally refuse to comply with the policies that guide an organisation, especially if they believe it will slow down the progress of their work. Other times, employees do not know the importance of security practices and how they will protect them. Some of their reasons are:

  • Inattentiveness to security policies because of their complexity 
  • Misinterpreting security policies
  • Disregarding policies to cut corners in the work environment

2. Sacrificing Security for Convenience

Employees are humans. And like a lot of humans, they will often prefer convenience over anything that will make them uncomfortable. So, if employees can choose between convenience and security, most will gladly settle for comfort. 

Examples include connecting to a free public Wi-Fi, even though they know they should use a VPN application. Or being lazy about passwords by using the same one for several different accounts.

52% of employees reuse passwords across multiple work accounts.

3. Lack of Training

Many organisations are security conscious but fail to realise that employees are the easiest ways cybercriminals can break an organisation’s security systems. 

Companies must encourage training sessions for employees to enlighten them on safe security practices and their importance. When employees understand the meaning of phishing, the various forms, and how cybercriminals can affect a company in this way, they will concentrate more effort on protecting the company’s information.

Phishing scams are a common way that scammers obtain valuable information from employees. When employees receive emails that appear legitimate and unknowingly click on malicious links attached to the emails, they become a victim of the scammer’s tactics.

An uninformed employee will not think twice before clicking on an attractive link in an email. The reason is that many of these employees do not undergo proper or ongoing training. As such, they are less informed about the severity of their actions on the company.

Preventing phishing attacks is straightforward with good training sessions. Also, many employees are confident that enforcing security is not their responsibility. So, they are less attentive to it. 

4. Social Engineering Tactics

Cybercriminals are unrelenting in their efforts to defraud organisations. So, it is no surprise that they employ any means possible to get at unsuspecting individuals, including social engineering tactics. 

Sometimes, the attacker pretends to be a coworker in dire need of help. This includes acting to offer employees help whilst manipulating them to break standard protocol. With such a tactic, the attacker appeals to the employee’s emotions and obtains valuable information that will ruin the company.

For companies to avoid this situation, it is expected that security procedures are enforced in their operational activities. These include stating the individuals who have access to documents and how to obtain them. This eliminates all forms of second-guessing and protects the interest of the organisation.

5. Unsafe Document Processes

Many organisations do not recognise how employees print and store information, making them vulnerable to cyberattacks. Printers are vulnerable to breaches, especially when employees do not use a strong password to protect the information on the device. Also, if the printers are not updated with the latest security patches, it can leave the printer exposed to being used as an entry to the network.

Implement Cybersecurity Measures to Help Your Company Stay Protected

We realise that many companies intentionally enforce suitable security measures for their operational activities. Unfortunately, your employees either directly or indirectly may keep you in harm’s way.

Do you seek a long-lasting solution to curb these instances? Please speak to us today at +61 2 9161 7171. The team at GKM2 can help you establish cybersecurity policies, training, and processes to minimise the emergence of a data breach because of your employees’ actions.