Protecting Sensitive Company Data: How to Educate Employees

By: Jennifer Keithson on June 22nd, 2018

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Protecting Sensitive Company Data: How to Educate Employees

Information Security

The threat of a hack is greater than it ever has been before with, technology now reaching all parts of the world and granting access to the internet uniformly. The effects of such hacks have been seen in the news lately as well as major corporations like Sony, Yahoo, and Equifax experience the terrible consequences of cyber breaches.

With the problem growing, and the attacks getting more sophisticated, there has never been a better time to learn how to defend your business’s data and protect your employees. Having uneducated employees can make your company susceptible to all variations of a hack, which could then lead to millions in damages, or worse, business failure.

Most small businesses believe that they will not be targeted by hackers, but in fact, over half of all small businesses are hacked and exploited. Worse yet, nearly half of small businesses that are hacked go out of business as they cannot appropriately deal with the vandalism. In this article, we will examine how to educate your employees so that a lethal hack does not disrupt your business.

It’s All About Passwords

Employing the use of strong password policies can curb hacking attempts and stop them in their tracks. That is why it is incredibly important to have a strong password policy that cannot be easily guessed or brute-forced. To that end, there are a few rules to make your password policy better than any other business on the block.

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Firstly, it is critical that your password is over eight characters long, preferably 16 characters long, and be made up of letters, numbers, and special characters. When a password has at least eight mixed characters, then the permutations of such a password balloon to over 1 trillion possibilities. That makes it essentially unguessable and will greatly increase your level of cybersecurity.

However, it is discipline over the complexity that really makes the difference when talking about cybersecurity. You must make sure that employees are not writing down the password on sticky notes and are not using the same password for multiple terminals or nodes.

Employees must know to keep all personal data and passwords separate from the company’s pool as that can add to the layers of susceptibility. No sharing passwords with other employees either and make sure that the overhead administrator is practicing full due diligence. It is incredibly important that employees safeguard their data and keep their passwords to themselves and the I.T. team.

Keep Updated

It is absolutely essential that business owners do everything that they can to incorporate the newest technology into their business. Occasionally there can be operational hiccups when this happens, but the safety that you are buying cannot be understated.

That is why it is imperative that your hardware and software stay updated and current with the latest version. This makes the operational systems much safer and mitigates the damage of an attack as updated tech is typically prepared to fend off hackers. The same goes for the server room and telephones as they can be just as vulnerable as any other device in your network.

Business owners may also benefit from keeping an eye out for new infosec technology and incorporating it into their businesses.

The use, for instance, of 2-factor authentication, can increase the security wall dramatically and is usually easy to implement now that almost all working people have smartphones. There is also the astounding introduction of biosecurity that uses fingerprints or facial scans to allows access to sensitive data or intranet terminals. These can make physical hacking all but impossible and greatly improves the security of your data. This may seem like a hefty investment, but the safety you receive in return more than makes up for the cost.

It’s A Team Effort

Ultimately, cybersecurity is a team effort that can only succeed if all of the members of an organization are on the same page. Keep your employees in the loop about any new cybersecurity policies and get their input as you never know who the secret expert in the room might be.

Having complex password policies and using the latest technology can curb your susceptibility and educate employees on how to deal with threats. There is no better feeling than knowing that your company’s data is safe and secure, thanks to the knowledge of your employees and cybersecurity know-how. No one in a company can protect on their own as it is a true team effort that can pay dividends in the future. Truly, it is about trusting your employees and caring about others that will keep your data safe and your business healthy.

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Want to learn more? We discussed best practices to prevent data loss and breaches on a recent webinar that can be viewed here:


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About Jennifer Keithson

Jennifer Keithson is an entrepreneur and advocate for diversity and equality. She has a degree in biology and enterprise management. For the past couple of years, she has worked with tech companies in the fintech industry for their strategic partnerships. You may connect with her on Twitter.