As a small business owner, you’ve likely invested a significant amount of money and time into ensuring your business systems are secure. You’ve hired an effective managed IT team. You have as much cyber security in place as you can. You believe you’re safe. However, your employees, sitting at their desks, phones in their hands, could be your biggest risk. Most employees and many business owners have no idea the risk is even present.
How Are Employees Putting You at Risk?
Look around your office space. How many employees have tablets, smartphones, or from home laptops? How many of those devices are linked into your internet connectivity? If they are, they could be tapping into your company’s sensitive data. And, those employees go home. They go out to dinner. They head to friend’s homes with their tablets and phones. In this move, they create a connection to your company’s data including your customer’s data, company secrets, and protocols from another location. Your sensitive business information is at risk even if your employees have no idea they are creating that risk.
What Can You Do to Reduce Those Risks?
For every business, there is some good news. You can take steps to significantly reduce the data leaks and access concerns. To do so consider these policies and solutions.
Create a Device and Network Use Policy
Create a policy that addresses what employees can and cannot do when it comes to connecting devices to networks. Among the key concerns:
Make it a requirement that employees must sign off of networks and confirm they have done so
Ensure every password is strong and changed frequently
Ensure employees are using solutions to protect against, detect, and treat malware and spam
Establish privacy guidelines.
Ensure a zero-tolerance policy exists to ensure no downloads occur on personal devices
A network and device policy like this should be the groundwork for protecting your company. And you’ll need to aggressively follow the protocol you establish here.
Educate Employees About Risks
Establishing the above guidelines may seem off-putting to some of your employees. They are trying to be productive. Why are you punishing them? You aren’t, of course, but instead working to protect their jobs and your business. The problem lies in a lack of understanding of such risks. Having a policy is important, but teaching your employees about risks and how to avoid them is even more powerful.
When onboarding employees, establish a training protocol for device usage
Discuss what risks exist with employees on a routine basis
Incorporate ongoing training for employees to keep them refreshed on the topics
It’s important to ensure you take an aggressive approach to encouraging and educating about these threats. IT threats are not a one-time training session. The risks change frequently.
Follow-Through With Support
You may not want to be the “employer looking over the employee’s shoulder” but you have to take steps to minimize risks. Work with your IT team to incorporate solutions to minimize such risks, such as forcing employees to change passwords and using managed IT services to keep a constant eye on potential risks.
It also helps to show employees the risks. In short, 50 percent of small and medium-sized businesses will end up closing their doors when such a data breach occurs, according to the National Cyber Security Alliance. That’s a very high level of risk that puts your employees’ jobs on the line, not to mention your company itself. With the right security measures in place, these risks are minimized significantly and your company doesn’t have to worry about security threats.
QualityIP is the trusted choice when it comes to staying ahead of the latest information technology tips, security tricks, and news. Contact us at (330) 931-4141 or send us an email at [email protected] for more information on protecting your business.