By Cathy Szymanski

Back in 2014, Code Spaces was murdered. The company offered tools for source code management, but they didn’t have a solid control over sensitive information- including their backups. One cyber-attack later, and Code Spaces was out of business. Their killer had used some standard techniques, but the most effective was getting an unwitting Code Space employee to help- likely via a phishing attack.

When it comes to cybercrime that targets businesses, employees are the biggest risks. Sure, your IT guys and gals are trained to recognize phishing attempts, funky websites, and other things that just don’t seem right. But can you say the same thing about the people in reception, or the folks over in sales? Sure those employees might know that clicking on links or opening attachments in strange emails can cause issues. But things have become pretty sophisticated; cybercriminals can make it look like someone in your office is sending the email, even if the content looks funny. It only takes a click to compromise the system. It also only takes a click to Google a funny-looking link or ask IT about a weird download you don’t recognize.

Just as you can’t trust everyone to be email-savvy, you also can’t trust them to come up with good passwords. It may sound so 2002, but plenty of people still use birthdays, pet names, or even “password” as their passcodes – or they meet the bare-minimum standards or required passcode complexity. Randomly generated passcodes are always better, and requiring multiple levels of authentication for secure date access is a must-do.

Remember, that’s just for the office. Once employees start working outside of your network, even more issues crop up. It’s not always possible to keep them from working from home, or from a coffee shop on the road. But, it is possible to invest in security tools, like email encryption, that keep data more secure if they have to work outside the network. If people are working remotely, remind them that walking away from the computer is a no-no. Anybody could lean over and see what they are working on, download malware or spyware, or even swipe the entire device and walk out- all of which are cybersecurity disasters.

Last, but not least, you need to consider the possibility of a deliberate security compromise from inside. Whether they’re setting themselves up for a future job or setting you up for a vengeful fall, this common occurrence is hard to prevent. It’s possible that Code Space’s demise was the result of malice, so let it be a warning to you as well! Whenever an employee leaves the company for any reason, remove their accounts and access to data. And, make it clear to employees that this behavior is considered stealing, or worse, and will be treated as such in criminal and civil court.

Fortunately, it’s still possible to run a secure-enough company in today’s world. Keep an eye on your data and your employees. And, foster an open communication that allows you to spot potential- or developing- compromises as soon as possible.

Cathy Szymanski has been working in the technology world since 1993.  She is the Director of WOW for Szymanski Consulting, Inc and specializes in Highly-Responsive Computer Support, IT Consulting, and Proactive Managed Services. Szymanski is an Amazon number one best seller with “The Business Owners Guide To IT And All Things Digital: 22 Critical Facts Every Business Must Know To Maximize Their Company’s Efficiency, Security, Employee Productivity And Profits”