Data breaches may adversely affect a substantial part of your customer base and result in large financial losses. Although most people believe cyberattacks are initiated by individuals or groups outside the company, the majority of data breaches result from unintentional or malicious acts by internal employees. Fortunately, you can help reduce the threat of internal employee data breaches by taking action in these four areas.
1. Provide Ongoing Training
Provide ongoing employee training on cyber security. For example, develop policies and procedures for handling confidential information. Train your employees on their responsibilities for enforcing those policies and procedures. Also, discuss ways data breaches may occur if your employees don’t uphold their responsibilities. Have your employees sign a document stating they understand and will fulfill their duties. In addition, remind your employees to not open suspicious emails that may contain malware or view websites that may be used to phish for information. Furthermore, stress the importance of your employees choosing passwords with more than six characters, including symbols and upper- and lowercase letters, changing passwords every 30 days, and not sharing passwords. Additionally, ensure your employees use secure Wi-Fi networks to reduce the risk of man-in-the-middle attacks.
2. Allow Limited Access to Information
Provide your employees with the minimum amount of access to information needed to perform their duties. Because the majority of insider attacks happen 30 days before or after an employee’s last day, your employees may use their email account or VPN login to access your company’s servers. This may open up your company to all kinds of data breaches. Therefore, you should monitor each employee’s email account and VPN login leading up to their last day, if possible, and terminate access once the worker is no longer with your company.
3. Monitor Online Behavior
Monitor your employees’ online activities to uncover unusual activity. For example, review usage reports to proactively identify potential issues and resolve them before they become bigger. Also, communicate with and provide consistent sanctions for employees involved in activities that don’t comply with your company’s policies and procedures. Show your employees why their actions are noncompliant, what potentially harmful consequences could result, and which sanctions will occur if the employees are involved in another potential data breach.
4. Model Company Culture of Cyber Security
Because employees typically follow the behavior of colleagues and executives, every employee at every level needs to model a culture of cyber security. For example, your managers should consistently talk with their teams about how data security requirements align with team members’ work responsibilities to ensure teammates understand the importance of compliance with company policies and procedures. Also, your leaders should request real-time feedback on how effective your information controls are on completing work in a reasonable amount of time to reduce inefficiency.
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