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The Most Common Security Risks in the Workplace You Should Know

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In 2020, we’ve seen almost every company shift its business operations from the office to home. With that, some old security risks in the workplace went away, and new ones emerged.

If you want to ensure that your business and employees are safe, you need to keep both eyes open for these risks and threats. Of course, to do that, you first need to know what they are and how they happen. So without further ado, let’s get into all the things that can make a work environment feel unsafe.

1. Phishing Scams

Phishing scams are back, and they’re bigger than ever. Well, they never technically left, but we have seen a huge surge of these scams in 2020. Even though the number of phishing sites has gone down this year, the average cost of attacks has increased.

Not only that, but the scams are getting trickier to spot and more intricate. That means that you shouldn’t expect an email from a Nigerian prince, but someone who actually looks like a legitimate business contact.

There are, of course, ways to fend off these phishing attacks, but they all start with staff training and cybersecurity improvements.

2. Unattended Devices

As people are slowly starting to get back to office-life, one thing to be extra careful about is leaving devices unattended. No matter how many people you work with, or how much you trust them, you should still never leave your phones and laptops just sitting about. Anyone could easily come off the street, steal your devices, and hack into your accounts.

Unfortunately, it’s not always possible to take your laptop or PC with you, especially if you’re just going on a break. However, before you go, you should never forget to power down your devices, and preferably lock them away somewhere.

Make sure that you have a strong password, and that all sensitive files are encrypted. That brings us to our next point.

3. Weak Passwords

In addition to phishing scams, one of the biggest security risks in the workplace is weak passwords. Countless small businesses use cloud-based services or multiple platforms to work from. That kind of system requires multiple, complex passwords that would protect all that data and information.

Unfortunately, a lot of people, both at home or work, use a single password to access all that information. Not only that, but the password is often pretty weak, and someone could easily guess it. If you want to see how much time it would take a person to brute force your password, we recommend checking out this fascinating infographic.

But here’s the thing; you can’t expect all your employees to use complex passwords, not save them, or reuse them. Someone would probably get locked out of their account on a daily basis.

That’s why it’s so important to use business password management technology and stay ahead of the game.

4. Insider Threats & Disgruntled Employees

Another one of the most common security risks in the workplace that not a lot of employers think about are insider threats. Disgruntled employees, unhappy associates, or contractors can do quite some damage to your business.

In fact, around 30% of company breaches involve internal actors who have access to your company’s data. They can cause incredible harm to your business and customers, as well as cause financial risk.

Dealing with insider threats is a lot trickier than most other risks because they’re coming from within. No amount of firewalls and cyber protection can stop someone who already has permission to access your database.

To avoid having to deal with so much fallout, your best bet is to put some IT protocols in place. They should be able to identify and cut off any potential threats, and entirely lock them out of your system. You should also always keep track of access to privileged data, and send out alerts whenever you sense suspicious activity.

Security Risks in the Workplace

5. Poor Cybersecurity

Both the good and the bad practices of cybersecurity are being talked about a lot this past year. That’s because we’re now seeing, more than ever, just how much poor cybersecurity can cost a company, and what a huge risk it is.

Now, cybersecurity is basically an umbrella term for countless different things. However, most companies don’t have a centralized department that would deal with these types of security risks in the workplace. Also, a lot of employers don’t put enough emphasis on training their employees and updating their IT policies.

Some of these basic policies should include:

  • Identifying risk
  • Developing processes and procedures regarding security
  • Detecting unauthorized activity
  • Protecting the company’s database and networks
  • Handling risk when it comes to vendors, associates, and third-parties.

Remember, something as simple as updating software on a regular basis can spare your company from a cyber attack.

6. The BYOD Policy

The bring your own device (BYOD) policy is a dangerous one when it comes to a business. Here’s the thing; even if your company has incredible security systems in place, and you’re doing everything right, your policies won’t extend to your employee’s devices. It’s as simple as that.

Sure, being able to work from pretty much anywhere in the world, and on multiple devices is amazing. However, most people don’t really think about how safe their devices are.

They will access the business network or download confidential files to their devices, which usually have little to no protection. From that point on, a scammer could easily get a hold of all the information and access your files.

If you can’t afford to revoke the BYOD policy, there are a couple of things you and your employees can do to protect yourselves. For one, you should ensure that everyone’s using two-factor authentication when accessing company networks. Also, write a policy that says that only those who are using VPNs can log on.

To Sum Up

If you look hard enough, you’ll see that there are a ton of different security risks in the workplace. Even the smallest actions, like leaving a phone unattended during a bathroom break can have massive consequences. The only way around these risks is to put solid security policies in place and ensure that your employees are following them to a T.

If you want to learn more about risks and threats both in the workplace and at home, sign up for our newsletter. There, you’ll see all the latest trends to be on the lookout for, and how you can protect yourself, your clients, and employees from them.

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