We have all been there: you’re at work and suddenly something pops into your head and you decide to pull up the internet and research it or read about it right? Have you ever checked your personal email at work? Did you know that this is one of the biggest security risks to a business? This is common of employees in the workplace and generally harmlessly intended. However, employees utilizing internet access for personal use at work opens a path for cyber criminals to prey on information within the business, leaving the business wide open for theft of information. In order to protect yourself and your business you need to control your network security risks. Below are three simple controls you can put in place today.
How Do I Control Network Security Risks In The Workplace?
- One way you can minimize network security risk in the workplace is restricting or disabling internet access. We spoke about this previously in our article “Cyber Security Essentials – 4 Technical Controls You Can Put In Place Today.” Not everyone in a business needs access to everything. Businesses should restrict internet access to employees and specific computer terminals containing or receiving sensitive data. Have you ever gotten an email from someone you don’t know asking you to click on a link? How about an email from “your bank” saying they need you to provide your login information through the link in the email? Are there misspellings in the email or the grammar and sentence structure is incorrect? That’s because the person sending you the email is likely a cyber criminal. The link they ask you to click on in the email will likely infect your computer with a virus or malware. Websites are the same way! When you are clicking on links and videos and navigating your way through the internet (killing time because you are bored) you are bound to end up on a website containing malicious content/links. One click on a malicious link and your computer (and potentially your network) is immediately infected with a virus and/or malware. When employees at work utilize a work computer to do anything other than work, the risk increases for your network to be intruded upon.
- Make sure all Wi-Fi networks at the business are secure. Password protect access to the router and do not broadcast, or make known, your network name (SSID).
- Don’t forget to disable remote access! It can be incredibly helpful to use, but when you aren’t using it, disable it! The steps for doing this can be found here.
How Do I Establish The Controls For Network Security Risk Today?
The easiest way to restrict the internet access for your business (this can be applicable to home computers as well) is to use a web filter. Web Filters come with a variety of options and customizable features. Are you still feeling uncomfortable limiting certain web traffic for your employees? Consider a recent study by the International Data Corporation (IDC) that found up to 40% of employee internet activity was considered non-work related. The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) discusses this study in their article Employee Internet Management: Now an HR Issue.
Maybe a better solution would be to eliminate the distraction and thus improve employee productivity. Remember that the unknown and potentially malicious web traffic by employees increases your chances of being targeted by a cyber criminal. You as a business owner are responsibility for ALL employees and making sure the company remains a major player in your business field. Communicate with your employees. Convey the importance of these network controls. Educate them on how to keep themselves, their customers and your business secure.
Don’t wait until a cyber breach has already occurred to act, YOUR BUSINESS REPUTATION depends on it! By controlling your network security risks, you will make your business a harder target by leaving less holes for cyber criminals to enter through. Continue to follow me as I uncover more pro(active) tips making you a harder target at your business and at home.