Are employees increasing your agency’s risk for a cyber attack?

32380032_SCyber attacks are becoming increasingly common. The source of many of these attacks? Employees. In many instances, employees unknowingly grant hackers access to their company’s system. That’s why it’s so important to make sure your agency’s employees understand their responsibilities to help keep your computer system safe and secure. Start the process by:

Helping them understand the risk. It’s estimated that 60 percent of small businesses fail within six months of a cyber attack. Studies also show that nearly 90 percent of all cyber attacks could have been easily prevented. For most companies, the problem is malware. That’s malicious software designed to gain access to a network, find sensitive data and possibly steal that data. There are various types of malware, including spyware, viruses, worms, or any type of malicious code that infiltrates a computer. Once malware is installed, it can allow hackers to extract private and sensitive data from your customers.

Providing training. Train your employees to not click on links or open attachments to e-mails they are not expecting. This is one of the most common ways hackers gain access to a company’s computers. Well-trained employees are the first line of defense against a cyber attack.

Using strong passwords. Long and strong passwords with a mix of uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers and symbols are ideal. Set a specific timeline — such as every three months — for changing company passwords.

Avoiding personal use of company computers. Consider requiring employees to refrain from checking their personal e-mail accounts and social media channels using company computers and devices.

Prohibiting installing outside programs on work computers. If a computer contains company information, you’ll want employees to avoid downloading any programs or apps on it.