When cyber security issues make the headlines, it’s almost always about some nefarious attack which could have links to a foreign government, or some kind of major failure by a previously trustworthy technology. While these are certainly exciting to read about, the large majority of cyber-security breaches affect small businesses like yours. External threats are certainly something to be worried about, but some of the biggest cyber security threats often come from within. Here, we’ll take a closer look at these insidious threats…
We’re Only Human
When it comes to security threats, most of us think of deliberate attempts at hacking or sabotage rather than human error. However, when you look through case studies of cybersecurity breaches within small businesses, a lot of them can be traced back to a simple case of human error. From mobile devices being lost to confidential data being sent to unsecure home computers to poor understanding of email security, there are all kinds of ways that a well-meaning but unwitting employee can screw things up. These days, anyone’s a potential risk, but the IT admins are the people you really need to watch.
If you’ve only just launched your business, and the whole of your workforce consists of ten or even fewer people in one cramped office, then you probably don’t have to worry about passwords being leaked just yet. However, once you’ve grown enough, malicious employees who intend to do damage to your company are going to become a very real threat, one which you can’t afford to brush off! Some will sell data and information to your competitors, and some will just have a vendetta against the company. No matter what their motivation, malicious leaks are a threat you need to be aware of.
Wolves in Sheep’s Clothing
Cyber criminals, the good ones anyway, are great at hijacking identities. In a world where remote workers are more common than ever, this is one of the most dangerous aspects of the modern hacker. Some may compromise your employee system through phishing and malware, whereas others use stolen credentials to gain access to important company data. In a lot of cases, these hackers are even able to increase a hacked account’s access within a system, making this threat even more troubling! It’s extremely important to keep tabs on the way all your privileged accounts are being used, and have a procedure for investigating any suspicious activity.
Naturally, internal cybersecurity threats are going to be a worrying prospect to any responsible business owner. Still, there are steps you can take to protect yourself from them…
- Prioritise the right assets. Hackers are only going to go after data which they consider to be worth the risk. Take some time to assess what your most valuable information is, and prioritise your cybersecurity resources for protecting these things before anything else.
- Apply good analytics. The way we interact with technology, like a lot of things, is dictated by certain habits. By applying deep analytics, and more sophisticated resources such as AI, you can pick out deviations in the behaviour of individuals, which will make it easier to see when your systems have been compromised, and chase up the internal threat at the root of it all.
- Know who’s working for you. In every organisation, there are certain employees who have a much greater opportunity to carry out a cyber-attack than others. You need to address the kind of risks these people represent, and the important assets which they have access to, as a matter of utmost importance. Key vendors, higher-up execs, IT administrators and other high-risk employees should all come under the microscope here.
I hope this post has given you a much clearer perception of the cybersecurity threats facing your business, and the best way to mitigate them.