When it comes to the ever-evolving subject of cybersecurity, even some of the strongest defense mechanisms aren’t invulnerable. As clever as technology is becoming, so are the tactics of cybercriminals. In 2023, it was found that the average time it takes to identify and contain a workplace data breach is 287 days. By staying informed, you can stay ahead of the game when it comes to your organization’s security. Here are the top three cybersecurity strategies your workplace needs and how to manage them:
Data encryption serves as a key shield when it comes to protecting sensitive information in the workplace. The strength of encryption depends on the choice of algorithm, key length, and the security of key management practices.
ExpressVPN’s blog piece highlights the human risk factor of data encryption, noting how employees are likely to accidentally reveal encryption keys or even fall victim to the traps designed to steal them. Furthermore, new technologies like quantum computing have been discussed as posing a threat to certain encryption methods. Namely, the speed and proficiency of quantum computers could compromise the reliability of encryption methods, raising concerns about the future of data security. With such considerations in mind, the most practical solution to minimize the risk of human error is to adequately train employees on using data encryption safely with tools such as VPNs and password managers like LastPass before granting any old Tom or Harry access. As the saying goes, ‘prevention is the best cure,’ and in the realm of cybersecurity, we are constantly reminded about the importance of staying proactive.
Access control is a crucial cybersecurity practice that works by restricting or granting access to systems, resources, and data within an organization depending on the user’s relative permissions. Unfortunately, even this method is not completely foolproof when it comes to successfully restricting access. According to the report of the Verizon Data Breach Investigations in 2022, insider threats were found to constitute 18% of security incidents. The motives behind such intentions can range from blind negligence to deliberate acts of vengeance or financial gain. To effectively account for these risks, organizations should make it their mission to adopt a comprehensive approach when managing their access control systems. This could include strategies such as: employing technical tools to monitor user behaviour and flag unusual activities, regularly inspecting access permissions, and developing a swift response to manage any insider threats at the first sign of suspicion.
Last but most certainly not least, there’s the fundamental practice of security awareness. This means enabling and ensuring effective education of security initiatives within the workplace. As you’ve probably guessed, the main goal of this is to encourage and empower employees to play an active part in the company’s protection of its digital assets. However, encouraging and empowering employees to ‘do more’ than what’s in their initial contract is never an easy feat.
Typically, employees tend to resist these changes. Employees’ resistance to such policies could be due to the perceived inconvenience security initiatives pose on their already unmanageable workload. This notion finds support in a study by the University of Bristol, which, although not directly tied to workplace cybersecurity, underlines the psychological barrier of disinclination to embrace a changing workplace if it means learning new skills. To counter this issue, organizations should consider meeting their employees on a human level to try and alleviate some of the reluctance. Involving employees in the decision-making process whenever possible could help with the anxiety felt over a changing workplace. Organizations that are proactive in their efforts to value and respect their employees will be more likely to see support when changes are made.
Stay Secure to Stay Ahead
In a society where hacktivists are constantly innovating, organizations must stay ahead of the game. The IT department can’t carry the weight of a workplace’s cybersecurity on its shoulders alone, it should be a collective effort. By keeping employees motivated, informed, and empowered, organizations can build a workplace in which digital threats pose little risk to such a united forefront.