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Posted on January 9, 2017 by in Breach Response, Business, Corporate ID Protection, Employee Benefits

You’ve seen the uptick in data breaches at companies around the world, and you’re trying to take protection seriously—after all, the current total cost of a data breach is about $4 million, and your business simply can’t afford a loss like that. You’re working on a data loss protection plan, hiring security experts, and keeping up with software updates. However, even some of the most prepared companies forget about one of the biggest risks to their sensitive data: their employees.

More often than not, your employees don’t mean to put your data at risk. They’re usually just unaware of the possible repercussions of certain actions and don’t consider what could go wrong. Here are a few of the top ways your workforce could be opening your company up to an expensive data breach:

  1. Use of mobile devices: Cell phones weren’t originally a big threat to the security of a company, but now that they’ve become mini, portable computers, the stakes are much higher. Many employees access their work e-mail and read sensitive documents on their mobile devices, leaving that information completely vulnerable outside of the work environment. Anyone could pick up the phone (or glance over your employee’s shoulder) and read confidential info, and if the employee is using an unprotected Wi-Fi signal, they could be hacked.
  2. Surfing the Web on company time: Some companies can be pretty lax when it comes to letting employees use the Internet during work hours to check personal e-mail, scroll through Facebook, or even take advantage of a flash sale on Amazon. It’s fine to give employees a little freedom to unwind once in a while, but leaving the entire Web completely open puts your business at risk. Certain websites could be hacked, or an employee might download something that installs malware on your company computer.
  3. Using removable media: It’s common for companies to let employees bring laptops or tablets home to get work done, and thumb drives can be an easy way to transport presentations or data. The problem, though? Removable media is easily lost, forgotten, or stolen. The second that object leaves your employee’s possession, your company immediately becomes vulnerable to a data breach.
  4. Poor judgment on e-mail: Your employees may think they are tech savvy enough to spot a phishing e-mail scam or not to click on an unfamiliar link, but it isn’t uncommon for the initial point of entry for hackers to be through an employee computer. Cyber criminals are getting smarter and more devious with the methods they use to trick company employees over e-mail, and targeted employees may never realize they’ve fallen victim.

How can you lower your company’s risk of a data breach caused by an employee? It can often be as simple as hosting a company-wide meeting to educate your team about the dangers, how their actions can affect the company, and what they can do to stay safe. Conduct regular employee security awareness trainings to keep the subject top-of-mind and to update them about any new tricks that hackers are using. And finally, create guidelines for things like Internet usage, removable media, and mobile devices. Taking the time to educate your employees could mean the difference between a major data breach and keeping your company’s sensitive information locked away from prying eyes.

If your company suffers a data breach, don’t worry—you have options. RapidResponse by IdentityForce delivers a cost-effective, scalable, and customized data breach solution that can be implemented within days of a breach. Learn more about RapidResponse.

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