Employees – Your First Line of Defence for Cyber Attacks

Last year there was a significant increase in the number of cyber attacks faced by businesses worldwide. The cyber-threat landscape continues to evolve, with APT’s, mobile malware and ransomware all set to escalate for the year ahead. There is a number of IT solutions available that offer protection against these threats, but many businesses are falling to utilise their employees as the first line of defence.

A recent UK survey found that 68% of companies do not have an awareness programme aimed at employees of all levels, ensuring they are cyber aware. In doing so businesses are putting their financial systems, reputations, and sensitive consumer data on the line by failing to properly equip their staff to recognise and respond to potential threats.

Education is Key

It is often the case that employees are at the root of most cyber breaches. The majority of malware requires a human action to enable it to penetrate the system. For example, an employee downloading a corrupt file from the Internet, opening a malicious email attachment, or clicking a suspicious link on social media can all generate harmful malware.

Your employees should understand their roles and responsibilities in safeguarding sensitive data and protecting company resources. Effective cyber-threat policies will need to be implemented and employees will need to be able to identify and mitigate potential risks.

Regular Awareness

With a rapidly evolving IT landscape, cyber security systems and solutions that were once up-to-date, quickly become tired and out-dated leaving your systems vulnerable to attacks. Cyber criminals are quick to improve their methods, so employees should be made aware of security updates and be informed of any new threats.

It is a growing concern that email spam filters won’t catch every threat. Skilled hackers know how to get through some of the basic IT defences.  Educate your staff to be able to spot suspicious emails or links to stop criminals deceiving your employees.

Promote Good Practices

Employees should be encouraged to use good password management. A strong password is at least 12 characters long consisting of upper and lower cases, numbers and characters. Employees should use different passwords for each account and enable two-step authentication where possible.

Whether your devices are set to backup automatically or your employees are asked to do it themselves, they should understand that they are responsible for the protection of their own work.

Help is at Hand

As well as implementing a security policy, you should have up-to-date security systems including virus/spyware protection software. Its important that you install necessary upgrades and that your operating systems are running the latest versions.

Lastly, disasters can come in many forms and can be when you least expect it. It’s important that your business is prepared so critical data can be recovered and your business can commence as soon as possible. For this reason, a disaster recovery plan and offsite backup is highly recommended.

If you’re looking for IT support in Surrey then we’re the team for you.  At Surrey IT we can analyse your existing network and make recommendations to secure your confidential data. We will also draw up a security policy for company employees to adhere to and provide full IT support whenever you need it.