Graphic of employees being an integral part of cyber security.

Five Way to Handle Cyber Security and the Human Factor

Cyber security can be confusing for employees. All businesses face some sort of cyber threat, but what is the most significant risk to your business? Is it ransomware, DDoS attacks, third-party attacks, or cloud vulnerability? In fact, it is none of these. Your biggest problem is not software or hardware. It’s wetware.

What is Wetware?

Wetware is the human factor in your IT infrastructure. Yes, your company’s biggest cybersecurity risk is your employees. According to global education company Cybint, 95% of cyber security breaches are wetware problems.

How Do Cyber Attacks Happen?

The vast percentage of attackers gain access through employee accident or neglect, that is, wetware. Five percent or less are intentional internal attacks. Most employees just aren’t thinking about cybersecurity issues when they log into their computer or check their work email on their phone, making them the perfect target. And as 43% of cyberattacks target small businesses, it seems that everyone is at risk. Here are a few statistics on the biggest cybersecurity issues:

  • 80% of reported cyber security incidents feature phishing. Hackers use fraudulent emails requesting sensitive information such as credit card numbers or passwords.
  • 65% of successful hacks feature spear-phishing. This is more insidious because hackers target emails to specific people and organizations to gain access or implant malware.
  • 1 in 3 web requests leads to malware, short for “malicious software.” Malware can steal information, crash your system, install viruses, or even facilitate a ransomware attack.

Five Things You Can Do to Increase Cyber Security

Amazingly, more people are unaware of a cyberattacks danger or potential cost until it happens to them. You can avoid becoming another victim by educating yourself and your team on the current threats and how to counter them. The following five suggestions will get you started securing your business from costly and damaging attacks.

  1. Use Two-Factor or Multi-Factor Authentication – Simple password protection only requires a username and a password. Two- or multi-factor authentication requires an additional password, personal ID number, or fingerprint, making your login that much more secure.
  2. Document Your Practices and Educate Your Employees – Educated employees are your best defense. You may wish to have a cyber security professional advise you on specific practices for your business and train your employees on how to implement them. Keeping your employees up to date on their training and current cyber security issues can save your business a lot of heartaches.
  3. Enforce Safe Password Practices – Everyone hates changing their passwords, but it’s an inconvenience that pays off in greater security. Passwords should be changed every 60-90 days and include upper- and lowercase letters, numbers, and punctuation or symbols.
  4. Secure Mobile and Wearable Tech – Unless you tell them otherwise, all your employees bring cellphones to work every day. Many of them wear watches or another tech that tracks their movements and can deliver email and messages in real-time. If these devices connect to the company network, they can be the unwitting vector of a cyberattack. All personal devices must follow the same safe password practices and change passwords every 60-90 days.
  5. Back-Up Data Regularly – Malware can wipe out years of data in seconds or lock you out of your computers. If you have a reliable, off-site back up a potential catastrophe can be reduced to an inconvenience. Make sure that all of your essential data is backed up automatically and frequently.

Your Wetware is Also Your Greatest Asset.

Most Americans have no idea what to do in case of a data breach or how to stop one before it starts. Your employees may be among them. It only takes a little education and awareness to harden your company against the most common forms of cyberattack. Your employees can transform from your greatest liability to your best defense by using caution and following best practices.