Strengthening your cybersecurity defense is essential to protect your business. While implementing a multi-layered security strategy is important, the human element is an equally critical component of your cybersecurity strategy. Our experience shows us that companies that boast a “Security of Culture” and take the time to understand how all employees play an integral part in security will ultimately boost their security posture.
Continue reading to learn how security is a shared responsibility amongst all stakeholders within the organization. Key attributes to promoting a security of culture include: Vigilance when it comes to cybersecurity awareness and strengthening your human firewall; Creating opportunities to thoroughly understand and recognize social engineering and how you can prevent phishing, or at least combat against fishing attempts; Create an environment where people feel safe to report security infractions, even if they clicked on something they “should not have.” The more comfortable people feel reporting issues, the more your IT leadership and support teams can have their eyes on potential issues, and vulnerabilities.
Establish Ongoing Cybersecurity Training
To adequately educate and prepare your team, you will need to establish cybersecurity training that is specific to your organization’s unique risks and needs. The United States Cybersecurity Magazine reminds us that, “in most companies it’s common that the bulk of cybersecurity training relies on IT departments, and employees. While this seems like the most logical option, it’s imperative that all employees engage and understand their part when it comes to defending their data and intellectual property from outside intruders. This is why educating employees regularly about the most pressing and current online threats and how best to mitigate them successfully is vital to your business safety.” Simply put, ongoing training is important to stay updated on the latest cybersecurity threats and to ensure your team is confident to know how to respond, report and take responsibility if there is a threat, or a breach.
Training will vary depending on the needs of your team. It may include reviewing the latest security trends for your company, running through practice social engineering scenarios, or evaluating your team’s knowledge through testing and paying close attention to the results of these exercises. Above all, training should be engaging and consistent – and it can be easily executed by working with a trusted IT partner like LincolnIT. Here are a few topic suggestions to get you thinking.
Strengthen Your Human Firewall
The term “human firewall” refers to how well a team can secure their network. Similar to a firewall device or software protecting your network, your employees can be given the tools to recognize and respond to cybersecurity threats. According to a joint study from Stanford University Professor Jeff Hancock and security firm Tessian, 88% of data breaches are caused by human error. Yet companies prioritize all of the technology related security functions, and sometimes overlook empowering the employees to be part of the solution. This is why strengthening your human firewall is a vital component of your cybersecurity defense. Even with the right technology in place, your business is still vulnerable to cybercrimes.
Understand Social Engineering
Strengthening your human firewall is a vital component to your cybersecurity defense.
Social engineering occurs when an attacker gains access to data, networks, or personal information through deceitful social skills. These types of attacks are unique because they focus on the psychological aspects of cybersecurity. An attacker may seem well-intentioned by posing as an employee, a reporter, or even a friend. Through these identities, attackers can infiltrate a business and compromise valuable information.
Social engineering has serious consequences, and businesses of all sizes and industries are at risk. When attackers gain access to important data such as user passwords, financial reports, or personal information, business assets will be compromised. Finances will be lost, customer trust will diminish, and regulatory compliance issues may arise. The effects are endless, which is why it’s so important to ensure your team is properly prepared and educated.
Prevent Phishing Attempts
Phishing is the most common type of social engineering attack. Phishing typically occurs through email or a malicious website. Attackers will try to solicit personal information by posing as a trustworthy organization, such as a financial company or even an employee, sometimes from HR and an executive, which employees would be hesitant to challenge.
Here are a few simple tips to prevent phishing attempts:
- Double Check Before Clicking Any Links: Hover over links from unknown emails or messages before clicking on them. Make sure they are going to legitimate web addresses and not dangerous links.
- Update Your Browser: When it comes time to update your browser, don’t delay — update it as soon as you can. This is because security patches are released with updates for popular browsers such as Chrome and Firefox.
- Install an Anti-Phishing Browser Extension or Toolbar: Most browsers can be customized with anti-phishing extensions or toolbars, and they are often free. They will run checks on the sites you browse and notify you if you happen to visit a malicious site.
- DO NOT BE AFRAID TO GET A 2ND OPINION: If you are not sure, ask your help desk or IT support to verify the source of the email. Do not be embarrassed, it’s always better to verify than assume.
Connect With LincolnIT
If you’re looking for a trusted IT partner who can help your business improve its human firewall, and help you to promote your security of culture, look to LincolnIT. We never make exceptions when it comes to securing your business and educating your team. Security is at the forefront of everything we do. We’ll partner with you to decide on the best ways to protect your business, while providing ongoing guidance and support. Browse our security offerings or contact us directly to get started on your customized security solutions.