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Reflecting on Cyber Security Month – Why should companies care?

Sarah Levine

Between Halloween and National Cyber Security Awareness Month, October gave us plenty of reasons to be scared. And although our Halloween costume contest got a bit spooky, it was the findings from Cyber Security Month that really left me in fear.

With security breaches emerging left and right, companies should be taking all precautions necessary to safeguard their data. But, many organizations are failing to address their number one security risk: their employees.

Though employees are often aware of the ramifications of poor cyber security habits, many fail to apply that knowledge while at work – leaving companies vulnerable to falling victim to the wrath of a hack.

According to a new study by IT trade associate CompTIA, here are three ways employees can potentially expose their companies to a cyber attack:

  1. Connecting to public Wi-Fi: Public Wi-Fi may be great for working on the go, but it presents huge security risks to employers and employees alike. Though public Wi-Fi may seem innocent, it serves as an ideal lurking ground for hackers to steal data and access unsecured devices. But, despite the hazard of connecting to an open network, 94 percent of employees admit to regularly connecting their laptop or mobile devices to public Wi-Fi networks.
  1. Failure to handle devices with care: Plugging in a seemingly harmless USB into a computer can open the door to irreversible cybercrime. Yet, 22 percent of employees would pick up a USB stick found in public, and of this number, 84 percent would plug the drive into one of their devices – putting companies at risk for a malicious breach.
  1. Lack of cyber security training: Though cybercrime can be easily prevented through educating employees on security risks, 45 percent of full-time workers report their organizations don’t provide any form of cyber security training. By being proactive and devoting time to training their employees on cyber security best practices, organizations can significantly reduce their security risks.

Though Cyber Security Awareness Month has come to an end, it’s never too late for companies to step up their security game. By training employees on basic cyber security risks, companies can avoid seeing their name in the next headline about a preventable cyber attack.