The biggest cyber security threat is inside your organisation
Organisations are recognising that their own employees, through human error, negligence or lack of awareness, can make businesses vulnerable to cyber-attacks. A survey among over 5,000 businesses worldwide by Kaspersky Lab and B2B International showed that 52% of businesses admit that employees are “their biggest weakness in IT security, with their careless actions putting business IT security strategy at risk.”
With global cyber-crime on the increase, it is worth all New Zealand businesses looking at what they need to do in order to combat such attacks. After all, cyber security crimes costs New Zealand businesses about $250m-$400m a year.
Employees are your first line of defence
How can you educate your staff to prevent your systems from being breached?
- Ensure passwords are updated frequently – A crucial step is to update passwords regularly. Every 2 months is a good benchmark. It’s also important to ensure passwords are strong and unique. For example, if your password is as simple as “ABCDE” or the standard “Password” it amazingly takes a hacker around 0.29 milliseconds to uncover it. A good tip is to see how good your current password is using free online tools such as this one from Better Buys.
- Regular back-ups – In larger organisations, this will be something the IT department carries out. For smaller businesses or sole traders, you may have to do this yourself. While back-ups in the cloud are great, it also pays to back up key documents on removable hard-drives. After all, if your passwords are compromised it is likely hackers will get into your cloud back-ups too.
- Remind staff not to ignore system updates– Make it your company policy that however inconvenient it might be, when operating system updates appear, install them straight away. The major software companies such as Microsoft are doing what they can to send patches to fix the weak points in their systems that cyber criminals are exploiting. So if you keep your systems up to date, you are at least making it harder for criminals.
- Educate staff to be careful of suspicious links – If your staff receive an e-mail or link they were not expecting, then they need to be vigilant and report it, rather than click on it. However, this can be hard to spot which is why they need help and guidance.
- Support staff with regular training– There is a great deal of confusion around what is a system threat and what isn’t. A simple yet efficient option, training can even be done annually online through solutions such as Safetrac. This will help your staff to keep your systems safe particularly from threats such as scams and phishing.
- Share stories of cyber-attacks– If you have a company newsletter or briefings then have an item which shares a recent incident you’ve had or one that has been in the press. This helps to keep it top of mind for everyone and reinforce what your staff need to be on the look-out for.