Chicago Small Business IT Professionals Offer Strategic Advice.

You’ve got the expensive antivirus software package. You spend time educating your technology staff to always apply patches as soon as possible. You have a solid backup and disaster recovery solution in place — or at least, you’re aware that you need one. However, there is a tiny detail that you may have overlooked in your cybersecurity work — and this single item is the one that could most easily bring your business to its digital knees in an instant. 

According to Alek Pirkhalo of Infiniwiz, a Rolling Meadows managed IT services company, “It’s no secret that more than 40% of cyber attacks occur due to employee negligence, but if you knew how easy it is to make this simple change you could keep your business from becoming just another statistic.”

The Most Devastating Mistake Your Employees Can Make

Data breaches are no joke — costing businesses billions of dollars throughout the world. Unfortunately, there is only so much that a proactive cybersecurity strategy can do without the total support of the professionals and contractors that are a part of the business doing their part. 

IBM’s X-Force Threat Intelligence Index shows that more than 2/3 of breaches are caused by insiders, staff members or contractors who left behind a vulnerability in the system that can be easily infiltrated by even low-level cybercriminals. 

Jeff Hoffman, CEO of ACT Network Solutions states “No, the problem isn’t poor passwords (although that’s a big issue, too). The number one security issue that is facing businesses today is the tendency of employees to trust that emails that manage to make it to their inbox are legitimate. Clicking on links or opening attachments in an affected email can quickly spell doom for network infrastructure or provide a secret entrance to sensitive data — or both.”

How Do Phishing Attacks Happen?

There are a few options that will help reduce the risk of being the victim of a phishing or whaling attack. What’s most important is that you create an ongoing strategy of communication with staff members that helps them understand what a phishing attack may look like and how to protect themselves and the organization. Educate staff members on the importance of information privacy in their personal as well as professional life, because cybercriminals are becoming more crafty as they look to social media to find a tasty tidbit to reel in their latest catch. It only takes a few hours to determine specific details about your business that will make a phishing email seem relatively legitimate. 

Chicago cybersecurity firm, Outsource Solutions Group explains the process this way. “The hacker shoots the email to a handful of people within your organization in hopes that one of them will either be in a rush and not paying attention or that they’ll think the email is genuine. Boom — that’s all it takes for your business to become a statistic.”

How Can You Protect Your Business Against Phishing?

Education is the most powerful tool that businesses have to fight phishing. Whether you decide to try some test phishing emails and see who clicks them and use that as a teachable moment or you work with individual departments, one-on-one training is truly the best option as it gives staff members a safe space to ask questions. Employees don’t want to feel as though they are being watched surreptitiously, so sharing with the full organization that you’ll be running some tests after a training session is the best way to keep the conversation going in a positive direction. Be sure to share with staff members the dangers that are associated with allowing cybercriminals to access the sensitive personal and business data that is stored within your organization.

Recent studies show that nearly 60% of small businesses that are the victims of a cyberattack are unable to maintain ongoing operations. Hopefully, that information alone will be enough to convince staff members to think before they click on a questionable email.