The world news is currently dominated by events that are highly visible, like the pandemic, economic collapse, or protests. All these have a powerful influence on businesses everywhere, but, lurking in the shadows, there’s another danger that can hit at any time.
We’re talking about cyberthreats.
The latest events proved extremely prolific for ill-intentioned actors that showed they are ready to exploit vulnerabilities of any kind. If in 2019, there was a wave of attacks on governmental and health organizations, in 2020, the attacks were targeted around the pandemic. Still, we now see an escalation of the threat, as entire countries seem to be under attack (see the recent cyberattack on Australia’s businesses and organizations).
Now, before you think your company is too small to be of interest to ill-intentioned actors, you should know that small and medium-sized businesses are the most affected. This happens because of the lack of security measures, which makes these businesses an easy target.
So, if you want to avoid yet another disaster in 2020, you need to make sure your business’s security is up to date. And, since most attacks happen as we try to use means of electronic communication, today we’ll talk about best practices for securing internal communication between employees.
Assess The Current Level of Security
Every business should have a basic level of security, meaning:
Up to date software, with the latest security patches installed
Reliable antivirus software on each device
A system that provides access to company resources based on rights of access (each employee has a username and password that they use to gain access to files, devices, communication means, and so on).
A strong backup system with secure storage locations
A centralized administration system that manages users, access rights, passwords, and more.
Two-factor authentication for the most important resources
So, before anything else, make sure your network is secure and protected against an external attacker.
Provide a Better & More Secure Solution
Do you know how your employees communicate with each other about projects or regular tasks?
If the answer is no, your company data are at risk of being exposed!
When the company doesn’t provide its employees with secure communication solutions, they will go around protocol and use the ones that are readily available. As such, many employees use apps like WhatsApp or Facebook Messenger to chat about various projects. Furthermore, some people use the free version of Google Drive or Dropbox to share confidential files.
While these tools are secure most of the time, they are not as secure as a dedicated communication channel that’s protected by a VPN or high-levels of encryption (like G Suite can offer). A VPN is also a secure way to allow remote employees to work in collaboration with the team.
It also helps to create an internal blog for the company, where employees can read the latest news and share theirs (according to each business’s policies). An internal blog is a secure hub of information, especially in uncertain times when fake news and phishing attacks are the norms.
By using secure apps and dedicated communication channels, you can avoid being the victim of a data scam like Cambridge Analytica. True, the scandal targeted individual users, but it shows just how unreliable social media and their apps can be. Just a reminder, the Cambridge Analytica data breach managed to expose the private information of over 87 million people!
Keep in mind: Subscription-based internal communication apps are created with data security and user privacy in mind. They may not be as cool to use, but it’s more difficult to breach them! Many consumer messaging tools (Facebook Messenger or WhatsApp) are built with advertising revenue in mind and easily become data mining tools.
Implement Security Protocols
If you ask a cybersecurity specialist, they’ll tell you that the weakest link in a company is the human factor. High-security systems can be broken down by an insider, whether they intend it or it’s just by accident.
To prevent this from happening, it’s important to have specific protocols when it comes to sharing files, using devices from outside the company (laptops, smartphones, tablets, even USB storage devices).
Also, it’s important to educate all your employees on the topic of cybersecurity and the associated risks when we choose convenience over the protocol. There are some amazing cybersecurity courses available online, and your employees could benefit from learning more about this topic.
Your business is a complex system that involves networks, devices, data, protocols, and employees. Each of these elements can be used as a way of access by ill-intended actors, which is why it’s important to invest in cybersecurity.
It’s also important to understand that a good cybersecurity system is displayed in layers and covers all the elements that comprise your business. That’s why you need to educate the employees but also provide access to company resources based on access rights.
Cybersecurity is a puzzle of many pieces, and you need all of them to create a strong barrier against attackers.