As businesses increasingly rely on technology, cyber-security has become a growing concern. Cyber-attacks are becoming more sophisticated and frequent, leaving companies vulnerable to data breaches and other threats. It is essential for organizations to take proactive steps to secure their networks from external threats.
Human Resources departments play an important role in this effort. They are responsible for establishing clear policies and protocols within a company. Furthermore, they oversee the fostering of a culture of security awareness among employees.
Let’s explore the steps HR can take to ensure their company’s data remains safe from malicious actors.
The Biggest Cyber-Security Threats to Small Businesses
Small businesses are among the most vulnerable to cyber-attacks. Cybercriminals often target small businesses because they lack the resources and security protocols of larger companies. As such, it is essential that small businesses take proactive steps to protect their data and networks.
The first step to eliminating threats to cyber-security is knowing what you’re dealing with. Below is an overview of the biggest cyber-security threats today:
The simplest and most easily exploited vulnerabilities are weak passwords. Weak passwords make it easy for hackers to gain access to a network or system. It is essential that all employee passwords be strong, unique, and regularly updated.
Malware is malicious software created by cybercriminals with the intention of stealing data, disrupting systems, or hijacking networks. Ensure your systems are protected against malware attacks with up-to-date anti-virus software and firewalls.
Phishing is a malicious tactic used to gain access to sensitive information by sending fraudulent emails or messages. Employees should be educated on how they can identify and prevent these attempts so they can protect themselves from cyber-attacks.
Although it often goes overlooked, insider threats are just as concerning as external ones. Insider threats are a major cyber-security concern for businesses of any size. It is estimated that more than 40% of all data breaches can be attributed to insider threats, making them the most common type of security breach. Insider threat activities can occur in a number of ways, including intentional malicious actions, careless negligence, and accidental data disclosure.
Ransomware is a type of malicious software that encrypts files or locks down networks and then demands payment in exchange for unlocking them. It should be noted that paying the ransom does not guarantee the attacker will unlock the system or files.
How Human Resources Can Improve Company Cyber-Security
Now that we’ve outlined the biggest cyber-security threats, it’s time to focus on how HR can help protect the company against these risks. Here are some steps HR departments can take to ensure their organization is secure:
Establishing Robust Hiring Processes
Part of an HR officer’s job is to sift through hundreds of resumes and CV forms, in search of the right candidate. As such, managers must exercise caution when checking emails and other messages from applicants. You never know what threats could be lurking between each line.
The first line of defense in any company’s cyber-security is its hiring process. A strong hiring process ensures that only qualified and trustworthy candidates are admitted, reducing the risk of an insider threat or other malicious activities. Companies should confirm the identity of prospective employees before they begin work. This includes verifying the applicant’s email address, running background checks, and checking references.
Developing Clear Policies and Protocols
HR departments should create policies and protocols outlining how employees should handle data and use digital tools. This includes setting parameters for using company devices, accessing sensitive information, or sharing files. That way, everyone will be on the same page when it comes to cybersecurity. HR should monitor employee usage of digital devices to verify that all security measures are being followed.
Fostering a Culture of Security Awareness Among Employees
As HR leaders, you have an important role to play in promoting a culture of security awareness among your employees. By educating and encouraging them to practice good cyber hygiene, you can help reduce the risk of cyber threats and create a safe digital environment for your staff.
One way to foster such a culture is by setting up regular cybersecurity training sessions as part of your onboarding program. Ensure that all new hires are aware of best practices when it comes to online safety, such as not clicking on suspicious links or attachments or using strong passwords. Additionally, remind employees periodically about the importance of keeping their devices secure and up-to-date with patches and other security measures.
Building a Cyber-Security Dedicated Team
Having a team of experts dedicated to cybersecurity is highly recommended for any organization. Cyber-security teams are responsible for monitoring the company’s systems and networks, as well as training employees on security best practices. Additionally, they should be prepared to respond swiftly in the event of a breach or attack.
Cyber-security is a growing concern for businesses of all sizes, and it’s up to HR departments to ensure their company remains secure. With the right precautions in place, you can help ensure your company’s data remains safe and secure. Good luck.