The Surprise Cyber Security Risk – Your Employees


Cyber security is on everybody’s mind, after all the high-profile hacks and scandals targeting multinational corporations and even prominent political parties. While it’s reasonable for someone reading a newspaper to believe only major targets get hacked, in fact, many cyber criminals target smaller businesses, specifically because they have less time and money to invest in cyber security.

The threat posed by cyber crime grows every year, and it’s particularly devastating to small business. It’s estimated that as much as sixty percent of small businesses shutter within six months of being hacked. Cyber attacks can be debilitating for multinational companies, too — their reputation suffers, sensitive information can get compromised, and there could potentially be millions of dollars to pay in lawsuits or settlements.

While there are still many organizations that haven’t responded adequately to online threats, other companies have taken proactive steps to improve cyber security. However, even investing in more IT personnel isn’t enough to keep you safe: you can only stay truly protected if you understand the ways in which hackers try to access your system.

The Risk Posed by Employees

Your own employees don’t have to be double-agents trying to bring down your company for them to actually cause major damage. Hackers try to access your system by exploiting openings given to them by unwitting employees through things like phishing spam.

It works like this: a hacker sends a fake email from a seemingly-real institution. The employee opens the email and clicks a link, which then infects your system with spyware than can harvest passwords and personal information.

Even if they’re checking personal email with a company-issued device, it can be enough to affects your entire network. Your business justification for an encrypted messaging platform lies in the fact that employees can’t always be counted on to avoid falling for such scams, so they need the equipment to keep them and your company safe.

Encryption Devices They Need

Historically, communication devices with end-to-end encryption had such limited functionality, they could only send and receive emails. Today’s secure devices are another story.

Encrypted smartphones from industry leaders use unbreakable encryption protocols that protect all messages, and all the data in your phone. Only devices using the same encryption protocol can message with each other, denying cyber criminals the point of entry they need.

Two layers of encryption are ideal: Elliptical Curve Cryptography for messaging with other devices on the same platform, and standard PGP encryption allowing users to talk to anyone also using such encryption.

Users can control an auto-delete function so that messages, notes, and pictures get deleted automatically. Because no information is stored on external servers, the information can only be accessed by the person with the password.

Buying proper encryption is a wise and economical up-front investment that can save you money and headaches down the road. Even the best employee could be exploited by cyber criminals, and could be used to accidentally compromise your entire business. You can prevent this from happening, by training your employees in cyber security basics and providing them with the equipment to keep safe.