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The Effect of Employee Negligence on Company-Wide Security

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Statistically speaking, the most common cause of data breaches in the modern business work is also the hardest for owners and managers to spot…

What’s The #1 Security Threat?

The answer? Their employees, both negligent and malicious. This week, we are going to talk about negligence. 

So often these days when you talk about security with someone — a coworker, another member of your industry, a security vendor at a tradeshow — you hear the same things over and over.

“WannaCry was the biggest security event the world has seen yet – and your business may be next!”

“Without our 20-point security defense strategy, you won’t stand a chance against hackers! You need antivirus, antispam, antimalware, etc., etc.”

“Let me tell it to you straight – you will get hit by hackers sometime soon, possibly even as we speak. What you do to defend yourself doesn’t matter – what you need is cyber-liability insurance…”

The problem with all these “hot-takes”? They overlook what is both the most common and (with the right attention) most preventable threat to a given business’ security.

What’s The Primary Security Threat To Be Aware Of?

More often than anything else, security isn’t a matter of antivirus software, or unhackable blockchains, or anything else like that. The truth is that security facets like that are surface level – what’s at the core of security?

The End User. Maybe it sounds too simple, or maybe it sounds like hyperbole to try to overshadow things like WannaCry with the potential threat posed by the people who work in the business.

But think about it – how many times have you used a password that’s easy to remember, but not really secure enough for the information it’s supposed to protect?

How often have you stayed logged in to an app out of convenience, even when it posed a theoretical security risk to the data accessible therein?

When was the last time you misplaced a smartphone, or a tablet, or a laptop? If it belongs to the business you work for, have you considered what’s at risk?

How Much Could A Lost Laptop Really Cost?

Let’s put it this way – you’d be surprised.

The Ponemon Institute conducted a study, “The Cost of a Lost Laptop,” in order to determine just what a misplaced computer could potentially cost a business after all was said and done. In conducting the study, Ponemon took the following seven cost components into account:

  1. Replacement costs
  2. Detection
  3. Forensics
  4. Data Breach
  5. Lost intellectual property costs
  6. Lost productivity and legal
  7. Consulting and regulatory expenses

Via these seven considerations, the study accounts for what it would cost to get another of the same device for the employee, the work involved with detecting the loss in the first place, searching for it, the potential expenses involved with a data breach (including loss of property and legal expenses), and any follow up that would concern consulting and regulatory parties.

The final cost? Before we get to that, consider the original cost of the laptop, for perspective – $1,500.

In the end? The lost laptop could cost up to $49,246! What’s more, 80% of that cost is made up of costs associated with data breaches.

Why Are Employees Such An Important Part Of Security?

In a nutshell – because employees have the greatest potential for error. Firewalls, antimalware and other types of security software are generally very well designed and deployed, which means they’re very good at doing their job.

But if an employee decides to turn off auto-updates to that software, because they find it annoying? There’s your security threat.

The same goes for how employees may not follow best practices for password management or may forget a company device on the subway ride to work.

All of this goes to show why it’s so important to come into the cloud, which inherently has numerous fail-safe systems and best practices, all that help ensure your staff’s negligence won’t bring your company down. invest in your staff’s understanding of modern business security and their role in it.  You can’t really stop the creation of the next ransomware strain that’s being developed as you read this – but what you can do is minimize its threats and the much larger threat that walks in and out of the building every day.

All you need to do is focus on what you can control, and moving your IT into the cloud is a great first step! A great WaaS solution, like Cloud Workspace®, will keep your employee’s desktops fully secure and backed up! Cloud Workspace includes all the necessary anti-virus, and more importantly, best practices, to ensure you will never have to find almost $50,000 to overcome a lost laptop.

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