Typing male handsEvery year, cyber criminals steal as much as 1 billion dollars from small and medium-sized businesses. Despite efforts by law enforcement agencies, this type of crime is only increasing in frequency. In fact, three and a half new cyber security threats are created every second.

You might think the biggest threat to your security lies in your equipment itself… but the largest potential danger in your company could potentially be your employees. This is especially true as more and more small companies increase mobility and accessibility from outside locations. While emerging technologies offer us options for greater flexibility and enhanced productivity in the workplace, these new technologies must be embraced along with awareness of their potential to backfire.

The top reasons for data loss are actually quite simple and preventable mistakes. Employees have been noted making the following mistakes:

  • Opening or clicking attachments in spam emails
  • Walking away from their desks while leaving their computers logged on – in a survey, 77 percent of employees admitted to doing this!
  • Failing to password protect mobile equipment like smart phones, tablets, or laptops
  • Failing to change passwords frequently
  • Visiting restricted websites

All of these mistakes put sensitive company data at risk for theft – by cyber criminals, and occasionally by malicious company insiders.

Luckily there are solutions that you can implement to stop these potentially devastating problems before they begin. A solid firewall, for one thing, will prevent many cyber threats from ever reaching your system. Updated anti-virus software and frequent scans of your equipment can prevent viruses in spam email attachments from infecting your computers. There are also certain programs which you can install on your equipment, which block access to suspicious websites that are generally inappropriate for the workplace anyway.

As for your employees’ behavior, consistent training protocol can help to educate them on the potential dangers of seemingly harmless actions. Frequent reminders to change passwords – and education on how to choose passwords that are difficult to guess – are key to protecting equipment and online accounts.

For more help on protecting your office from cyber threats and data loss disasters, give us a call!