Why cybersecurity isn’t just about infrastructure but about people, too

Why cybersecurity isn’t just about infrastructure but about people, too

Media such as films, TV shows, and comics often portray cybersecurity breaches as something grand, with mysterious hackers furiously typing on their state-of-the-art gadgets. The truth is, most cybersecurity incidents happen silently, and some attacks are not even discovered until it’s too late.

While hackers may use high-end technology to infiltrate systems, the human factor in data security shouldn’t be discounted. According to IBM, 24% of data breaches are caused by human error. That’s about one in four incidents.

Apart from fortifying your business’s cybersecurity infrastructure, understanding workplace cybersecurity behavior can play a key role in preventing data breaches.

What are workplace cybersecurity behaviors?

These are behaviors that employees display when dealing with cybersecurity in the workplace. This includes security policy compliance, or how well staff follows the company’s cybersecurity protocol. It also involves email behavior, such as how likely employees are to open suspicious emails, and password behavior, such as how prone they are prone to recycling login credentials.

Each employee is different

Not everyone is at the same level when it comes to cybersecurity. Compared to a new hire, an experienced employee who has undergone cybersecurity training will generally have a better grasp of how a company implements cybersecurity measures. Attributes such as motivation, company loyalty, and business industry also affect one’s cybersecurity behaviors.

In order to create an effective cybersecurity awareness training plan, IT leaders should take into account the fact that there are marked differences in cybersecurity behavior among the staff. Therefore, it’s necessary to launch differentiated assessments and cybersecurity education campaigns to address varying knowledge gaps.

In other words, while infrastructure implementation is company-wide, cybersecurity training should be done at the employee-level. Implementing these two seemingly opposite concepts will give your business a more comprehensive cybersecurity protection.

Cybersecurity as a culture

It takes a collective organizational mindset to combat security threats, with top-level executives leading the company in incorporating cybersecurity measures into processes. On top of deploying security solutions like antispyware and firewalls, good cybersecurity habits must also be embedded in company culture. Strong adherence to password and network security policies can have big impacts if everyone follows them.

Having a written document detailing the company’s cybersecurity goals, threats, and measures also helps your employees understand their role in protecting company data. And when they know the reason behind a rule or a task, they are more likely to follow it.

Individual targets over entire systems

We often think of cyberattacks in terms of offense and defense, and whoever has better technology wins. In reality, cybercriminals prefer to target individuals rather than entire systems because they are more vulnerable.

According to Proofpoint, 88% of organizations in the world experienced spear phishing in 2019, while 86% faced business email compromise (BEC). What’s more, Verizon’s 2020 Data Breach Investigations Report disclosed that 22% of breaches in 2019 involved phishing. This means that cyberattackers are actively sending phishing emails to individuals, simply waiting for that one employee to slip and click on a compromised link. As such, it is not enough to rely on technology to ward off phishing attacks — employees must be trained to spot and handle them.

Remote working and cybersecurity

The number of businesses adopting remote work setups is growing. While working remotely allows businesses to save on costs and keep operations running during a pandemic, it also opens them up to more cybersecurity risks.

When you have end-users using non-company-issued devices while connected to weakly-protected home networks, you can’t rely on cybersecurity infrastructure alone to safeguard your business. Using Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) and enabling multifactor authentication (MFA) can help secure your remote workers’ devices and accounts, but you also need them to be aware of their actions. At the very least, they should understand the risks of using personal devices for work.

The most effective cybersecurity defense strategy is one that doesn’t just rely on technology. While you take care of the human factor in cybersecurity, we can beef up your infrastructure. For IT solutions that work, partner with Midwest Data Center. Our wide array of comprehensive security solutions are designed to keep data breaches at bay. Contact us today for your FREE assessment.

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