Cybersecurity training must be a priority for all employees. This should be a regular part of their work and involve the company cybersecurity expert.

Employees should be encouraged to use a strong password, be wary of suspicious emails and double-check any links they receive that may appear to be from LinkedIn, virtual meeting platforms or the CEO. They should also learn how to report suspicious activity to one person in their organization.

Always Change Your Passwords

Changing passwords on a regular basis is an essential part of cybersecurity best practices. Keeping passwords fresh is a key defence against many cyberattacks, including brute force and credential stuffing attacks. Passwords that are not changed regularly tend to follow predictable patterns and are easier for cybercriminals to find. These passwords are often stolen from data breaches and sold or leaked on the Dark Web. Cybercriminals can then use these passwords to gain unauthorized access to computer systems and networks.

While a number of people still have the mindset that it’s okay to reuse old passwords, it is crucial to always change your passwords in order to protect yourself from hacking and other forms of unauthorized access. A good rule of thumb is to change passwords every three months, but that’s only a guideline. It’s best to choose a unique, strong password for each account and use two-factor authentication as an additional line of defence.

In addition to changing passwords, employees should be encouraged to be vigilant in their personal life and practice other best practices when it comes to protecting information from hackers. For example, they should never send sensitive personally identifying information (Social Security numbers, bank accounts, passwords) via email. Instead, they should only transmit this information in a secure environment such as an encrypted messaging app or secure file sharing platform. Additionally, they should be cautioned against downloading software from untrusted sources and should avoid saving any personal information on a work laptop. If they do need to save personal information on a laptop, they should immediately change vendor-supplied default passwords and use a program such as “wiping” to overwrite the hard drive after each use.

Never Share Your Passwords

When employees share passwords, it’s hard to tell if the person using their login credentials has accessed sensitive data or made unauthorized charges. It also makes it difficult to track who is responsible when something goes wrong and determine whether they used the same login credentials for their personal accounts, too. If a former employee, who is no longer on your payroll, accidentally changes the password for a critical account, that can affect everyone in the company and lead to expensive damage control efforts.

Password sharing is especially dangerous because knowledge-based authentication factors (user names, passwords and answers to security questions) are inherently weak and easy to compromise. Hackers who gain access to one account can use stolen credentials to breach multiple devices, accounts and users at once.

Moreover, sharing passwords and accounts exposes your company to the risk of legal action by customers whose privacy rights have been violated. Sharing passwords in the workplace can lead to phishing attacks that spread malware to every device an employee has access to.

Many unauthorized access attacks are initiated by sharing passwords or accounts, and the most damaging ones involve lateral movement, when hackers use compromised credentials to move laterally within your network and find the information they want. The best way to prevent unauthorized access is by implementing cybersecurity solutions like user and event behavioral analytics, which can help you detect anomalous behavior.

Educate employees on the best practices for managing passwords, including avoiding terms that can be guessed in a brute force attack and changing them regularly. Encourage them to use password managers that enforce best practices and enable multi-factor authentication. And if a password is leaked, it’s important to inform them that their personal and professional accounts could be compromised.

Keep Your Devices Up to Date

Unauthorized access is the most common cause of business security breaches. It often involves a compromise of the network and can expose proprietary information, data, or devices. This is why it’s important to implement strong cybersecurity tools such as multi-factor authentication, virtual private networks, firewalls, regular software updates, and employee training on security awareness. You can click here to learn more.

In today’s “knowledge economy,” employees create, share and iterate on a lot of data. This unstructured information takes on many forms, from files in sync and share apps to email attachments and Slack chats. Unfortunately, many of these files may not be officially classified as sensitive or protected and could be accessed by attackers without authorization.

Hackers can also access sensitive information from connected devices like printers, security cameras, and switches that are left open to the internet with default configurations. These devices can become entry points to the network and allow hackers to steal credentials and encrypt data. Keeping your company’s devices up to date with manufacturer-released security patches will help prevent this.

People are more likely to flout cybersecurity policies when they’re stressed out, especially if the policies interfere with their productivity. This is because they tend to prioritize productivity above everything else and have low tolerance for rules that hinder their workflows. It is crucial for leaders to understand this dynamic and design work with both productivity and cybersecurity in mind.

Another way employees can fall prey to unauthorized access is by losing or misplacing their device that contains sensitive information. This can lead to a breach by cybercriminals who can view the device screen or keypad to obtain information. To prevent this, it’s important to enforce security protocols such as password resets, MFA, and requiring employees to lock their devices.

Keep Your Software Updated

Most people have a lot of different software on their devices. This may include programs that help with productivity, as well as apps they use for communication and collaboration. It is important to teach employees that it is always best to update the software on their device to make sure they have the latest security features available. Keeping up with the updates will make it harder for cybercriminals to access data.

Additionally, it is essential to stress the importance of not downloading or installing software on company-issued devices unless it has been authorized. If employees are allowed to do this, it is vital that they only download apps from trusted sources and never allow them to take control of the device. This will help prevent them from downloading any unauthorized apps and opening up backdoors for attackers to exploit.

Another way to help protect against unauthorized access is to have the right IT infrastructure in place. This includes having the ability to monitor and detect unauthorized access in real-time, as well as ensuring that only those with authorization can install any programs on your devices. This can be achieved by following the principle of least privilege. Employees should be given access to only the systems and data they need to perform their job duties, while being granted temporary additional access as needed.

It is also critical to provide training on a regular basis so that employees are aware of the latest threats and are comfortable reporting suspicious activity to their managers or IT support. Educating your employees is the best way to help them understand why cybersecurity practices are important and how they can be enforced by the business.

Always Report Suspicious Activity

While technology and physical security measures go a long way towards keeping employees safe in the workplace, ultimately it is everyone’s responsibility to be alert for and report any suspicious activity. By taking this simple step, it is possible to stop cyber attacks in their tracks and prevent them from causing even more damage down the line.

This is why it is important to always have a clear and easy reporting process in place. Employees need to know who they can turn to when an incident occurs and what the exact steps are for a prompt and accurate response. Educating employees on the specifics of what constitutes suspicious or threatening behavior and having an intuitive, reliable reporting system will help to reduce the time it takes for these issues to be investigated and dealt with.

It’s also important to ensure that all employees understand how to properly secure company issued devices. This should include keeping passwords secure, not allowing other people to use their device, only downloading apps and software from trusted sources, and not leaving devices unattended for too long. It is also a good idea to use two-factor authentication whenever possible. This extra layer of security can decrease the chance of a breach because criminals need to have access to both the account password and an additional method of identification in order to hack a profile.

While cyberattacks are inevitable, they can be prevented with proper training. This should include educating employees on all aspects of cybersecurity and how to identify potential threats, such as phishing emails, malware infections, and other malicious activities. Using regular tests and phishing simulations to evaluate an employee’s ability to detect and avoid these risks can go a long way toward reducing the risk of a breach in your business.