Business Cybersecurity

Why Employees Are Still the Biggest Threats to Cybersecurity

It can often seem like cybersecurity is the main topic of conversation every few weeks. This is because a number of companies’ networks are either hacked into or exploited on a regular basis. Now, all of these occurrences can seem rather puzzling.

Biggest Threats to Cybersecurity

After all, cybersecurity measures have improved quite a bit over the past few years. Even the most average computer often has some rather impressive security processes in place. So, why does cybercrime continue to be such an issue?

Well, the short answer would be humans. That’s right, people – employees in particular – are one of the biggest threats to cybersecurity. Don’t think so? Then check out all the ways that a worker can compromise a secure system.

The Inside Man or Woman

If your business is on the small side, then you may think you are safe from corporate espionage. However, think again. If your company is based on a niche idea or is able to adapt to an evolving environment, then you could be at risk from spying.

Now, one of the easiest ways for your competitors to get information on your business is to plant an inside man or woman. As long as there is a position open, this is simple enough to do.

Once this individual has gained access to various databases, they can get a closer look at the way your company is run. Then, it is just a matter of them passing on this information to the people that hired them.

To cut down on the risk of this happening, you will need to hire people more carefully. A tough interview process alone will not be enough. You must include a security check as well. Fortunately, websites such as will allow you to do this fairly easily.

Simple Passwords

You have probably heard all the warnings about why you need to use a strong password. However, there is a good chance that your password is still pretty simple. To a certain extent, this is understandable. No one wants to remember an overly complicated password and then enter it every time they want to get into the system.

Unfortunately, this is exactly what you need to do. A digital security report discovered that almost 81 percent of cybersecurity breaches were due to poor passcodes. This means that despite knowing better, most employees chose to use passwords that can be easily guessed or something they used on a different account.

Simple Passwords

As such, hackers were able to gain access to the network relatively easily. After all, a little guesswork or even brute force attacks will yield results rather quickly. It is clear that the protocols surrounding the creation of passwords need to change.

To start with, it should be a company policy for employees to use complex passwords containing phrases, alphanumeric code, and other curveballs as well. This is something the IT department should check on to ensure that everyone is following the rules.

Employees should also be encouraged to change these passwords on a regular basis and to have a different one for each account. Undoubtedly, keeping track of these passwords can be quite difficult for the average worker. Due to this, employees should download password managers that allow them to securely store all of their codes there.

Downloading Malware or Ransomware

Malware has always been a problem but ransomware has been dominating headlines for quite a while now. While there are numerous types of ransomware, they are often introduced into a computer in the same way – by downloading.

A number of employees will open emails from unknown senders and even download the associated attachments. Or, they may visit dodgy websites and pick up the malware there. Either way, the root cause does tend to be people.

Training employees to be more careful is certainly a start when it comes to preventing ransomware or malware. However, this alone is not sufficient. It is also important that companies start setting up antivirus and anti-malware programs on every computer. In particular, it should be set up to screen all emails and to prevent automatic downloads.

A Reluctance to Update Systems and Programs

The average employee has quite a bit of work to do. What’s more, they have deadlines to meet which means that they often can’t afford to dawdle. Therefore, when notifications for system and program updates pop up, they adjust them for later. Of course, “later” may not happen for quite a while.

What many workers don’t realize is that these updates are in place for a reason. They contain security patches that can fix any flaws and bolster the system. In turn, this makes it more difficult for hackers to find a way into the system.

This is why IT departments or employers should give each worker the time needed to update their system. They should also set reminders and check that each machine has been updated as soon as the upgrades are available.

The Risk of Bring Your Own Devices

Quite a few people take their work home with them. At the very least, they want to remain connected to their work accounts at all times. As a result, many may sync their own personal devices with those in their business.

Now, unfortunately, most personal devices don’t have the same kind of security as company devices. Therefore, many hackers or criminal elements may be able to access these devices and then enter into the main system through there.

It is because of this that employers should insist that employees only use the devices provided by the company. If workers like to use their own devices, then these should be secured by the company’s IT department to ensure that it is up to standard.

It is clear that employees play a significant role in cybersecurity. The bad news, of course, is that it means that they are more likely to be targeted. Thus, they often let malware or other malicious software in.

As a good business owner, you need to start taking the necessary steps to train your employees well. Furthermore, you should also have more stringent policies in place.

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About the author

Michael Austin

Michael Austin is a Internet Entrepreneur, Blogger, Day Dreamer, Business Guy, Fitness Freak and Digital Marketing Specialist. He also helps companies to grow their online businesses.