Employees are the weakest link in your securityAre your employees creating a security risk in your company? Did you know that employees were the second highest cause for data breaches, after criminal attacks? Here are some common ways well-meaning employees can cause data breaches:

1. E-mail

People are quick to trust banks, universities, and friends, and will instinctively want to open the email and click on the link. Even when the mail filter sends the e-mail to the junk/spam folder, employees have been known to open that email anyway, because the subject line has caught their interest.

Not only are employees targets, but contractors working for companies are targets as well. It was recently noted that the massive Target breach last year was initiated through a phishing e-mail to Target contractors working for an HVAC company. This incident is proof that when employees open emails, not only is your company data at risk, but your customer data is as well.

2. Links

Shortened links can fool anyone, especially when it seems it’s from a trusted source, such as a news source. It’s always a good idea for employees to expand the shortened link to see where it’s taking them, before clicking on the link.

3. Ads

Online advertising is growing every year, and with that growth comes more malware. How easy is it to accidentally click on an ad? It’s very easy! I did this two weeks ago on accident. I have been a Mac user for 6 years and my previous time using Windows had been nearly erased from my memory. I felt clumsy bumping around that operating system. When I went to go download an open source program for a class, I hit download. And then I hit run. As I was watching it load, within 15 seconds I knew this was not the program I needed, but it was too late. I had loaded mysearchdial and it was proud to be on my computer. It didn’t want to leave. Luckily, it was just that and nothing more nefarious.

On my Mac, the ad above the real download link was something unrelated to the page. I could easily tell the difference.

Ad on my Mac. Notice it’s a Google link. An obvious Google link.
Ad on Windows.

On Windows, I was easily fooled. Had I paid more attention, I would have noticed it was an ad. If I had squinted my eyes more I would have seen the word advertisement. Imagine how easy it is for an employee to do this and possibly cause a major issue for their company, not to mention their customers.

What Can a Business Do to Protect Against Employee Missteps?

Security training and awareness for employees can go a long way. Some may not know to leave the junk mail in the junk mail folder. They may not be able to help their curiosity because the subject line or link is just too enticing. If it seems too good to be true, you’re probably right. A simple training meeting could bring the needed security awareness to the company and possibly mitigate employee negligence.

However, while security awareness training is helpful, it’s not enough on its own. The hard truth is that your employees will never care as much about your company’s security as you do. If they receive an especially enticing link, and even if they have been trained to ignore it, they may still feel it’s worth the risk to take a quick peek.

And in a perfect world where all your employees followed all of their training perfectly, they can still be putting your company’s security at risk. For example, earlier I stated that shortened links should be expanded before clicking. What if it points to a well-known, reputable news site? Their training would say it’s safe to click. But even the most well-known, most reputable sites can and have been hacked to spread malware to its visitors. This is a problem that goes way beyond training and trust.

This is the problem that we solve. When employees use Light Point Web, your security no longer depends on training and trust. Light Point Web can allow your employees to browse the web without any sites reaching your computers. So the most dangerous site in the world poses no more threat than the safest site in the world. You can set policies to say what types of files employees can download, from what sources, or stop them from downloading anything at all. Clicking links in email will automatically launch it in Light Point Web, because it integrates seamlessly into your standard browsers.

If you are interested in learning more about how Light Point Web can protect your business, contact us.