As businesses, companies have assets of all forms to protect. From products to strategies to the actual employees themselves, security is an integral part of a company’s operation. In recent years, the more conventional notion of physical and material security has been steadily supplemented as it moves into a new arena: the Internet.
Cybersecurity is one of the fastest growing fields in the business world, and for good reason. The increasing amount of sensitive data that companies are storing on their servers, both in-house hardware and cloud-based Web servers, means protecting that information is of paramount importance. Data breaches are costly, can compromise sensitive company information and can even lead to legal action. Fortunately, it’s possible to train your staff to be more aware of cybersecurity measures so you can keep your business’ electronic infrastructure safe.
The cost of data breaches
People read about large-scale data breaches in news stories, but it can be difficult to contextualize such events in abstraction. Unfortunately, data breaches and cyber break-ins can cost businesses heavily. Business Insurance reported that home hardware company Home Depot recently fell victim to a cyberattack in which 56 million customer credit card numbers were stolen – the potential legal ramifications of such events should be obvious.
Aside from the direct financial losses associated with data security breaches, fear of intrusion and the desire to protect sensitive information has resulted in greater expenditures over the years. New insurance markets have sprung up in response to the growing digital threat. Just as companies purchase liability insurance, organizations are now buying cyber insurance to guard against liability implications of break-ins. Unfortunately, this new peace of mind doesn’t come cheap – the source noted that Home Depot’s new insurance bill rang in at $105 million. Biz Journals reported that financial company JP Morgan spent upward of $250 million on cyber security in 2014 alone.
Prevention and efficiency
The emergence of new cybersecurity measures is promising, but the fact remains that data insurance is a costly solution. The truth is that many small businesses simply don’t have the resources available to invest in these new measures. Does that mean that they’re left to the Wild West that is the unprotected Internet?
Fortunately, the answer is no. As with most other measures, prevention is a significant part of protection, and there are many steps companies can take to maximize their cyber protection efforts within the office walls. In fact, knowledge is the most powerful tool employers can wield – and it can be used by every single employee.
The Department of Homeland Security recently launched a new campaign aimed at increasing awareness of cyber safety across the country. The Stop.Think.Connect program provides a wealth of information regarding which risks are the most pervasive and what can be done to minimize them.
This presents an excellent resource for companies, who can create online courses that leverage existing information from the DHS. With October as National Cyber Security Awareness Month, the time has never been better for employers to take a hard stance on integrating cyber safety as part of the standard corporate training. Reiterating that cybersecurity is everyone’s responsibility is a key theme of raising awareness of data safety. Elearning software can be developed as a means of educating personnel on key risks and prevention methods, as well as testing to ensure retention and engagement.
Even more simply, companies should be sure to overhaul their existing privacy and security guidelines regarding things such as workplace computer use, password management and email security. While online platforms and learning management systems can be used to provide thorough education into cybersecurity issues, it’s very easy to supplement these courses with more lo-fi solutions, such as prominently placed posters reminding employees never to share passwords.