How To: Protect Your Workplace from Security Breaches
It might not be the sexiest topic of conversation, but workplace security should be high priority for the business leaders of today. With more and more businesses scaling and working across multiple locations, with employees dispersed around the globe, the risk of a damaging security breach can drastically increase.
The possibility of a workplace security breach is even more plausible given the growing number of businesses adapting to a hybrid workplace model, where you can no longer rely on a protected corporate network.
We don't want to alarm you, but failing to protect your workplace could lead to costs in the millions and damage to your reputation that no amount of money in the world can solve. Read on to discover what potential threats to your business may look like and how you can protect yourself.
The Rise in Security Breaches
Before we look at the rise in security breaches, we should identify what we mean by a security breach in this context. In simple terms, a security breach refers to data and systems being compromised. Breaches often occur when someone tries to force their way through security parameters. They might do so via force on some occasions, but weaknesses on the company’s side – such as easy-to-guess codes or poor systems – can also play a role.
2021 brought with it several new security challenges for business owners. Compared to 2020, the cost of data breaches rose by 10%. IBM also revealed that costs were over $1 million higher when remote work played a role in the breach, and that data breaches in hybrid cloud environments cost $3.61 million in 2021 alone.
How a Security Breach Could Affect Your Workplace
The repercussions of a cyber attack on your business can be devastating and far-reaching. Here’s an idea of some of the potential risks:
When cyberattacks occur, your customers’ important data and that of your employees and visitors are at risk of being compromised.
Governments worldwide are tightening their regulations surrounding data protection amid growing concerns. One of the most comprehensive data laws in history is the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which all EU and EEA countries have adopted. The UK has a similar version.
If you’re found guilty of breaching GDPR regulations, you could be fined up to €10 million or 2% of your yearly turnover (whichever is greater) and for more serious offenses, these numbers double. Even if you don’t operate in the EEA or UK, you’ll still need to adhere to certain regulations depending on where you do. Switzerland, the US, and Australia are all examples of countries where different rules exist.
A digital workplace check in system like SwipedOn helps to take away some of the confusion by ensuring compliance and giving you a range of tools to manage and store the data you collect within the system.
A Loss of Trust
The long-term success of most businesses relies heavily on your customers trusting you. Customers, visitors and employees sharing their personal details expect you to ensure that nothing malicious happens to their information.
If a security breach occurs, you risk a significant loss of trust from your customers—especially if their data has been compromised. When this happens, it’s challenging to regain their confidence, regardless of how well established you are. For extra ideas to beef up your data security measures, take a look at our post on how to strengthen your data privacy.
Theft of Sensitive Information
If a hacker gets into your system, they can steal sensitive information (such as personal data and payment details) related to your employees and customers. Hackers can also steal data that could damage your operations in the long run, such as intellectual property or confidential information about future partnerships, and then hold this information at ransom in order for you to get it back.
How to Protect Your Company From Security Breaches:
Use Secure Workplace Sign In Software
If your business still uses outdated practices—such as physical sign-in books—these systems should be updated as soon as possible. One of the best ways to protect yourself against security breaches is by using workplace sign in software.
Digital sign in systems can ensure your visitors’ and employees’ sensitive information is stored safe and securely in the following ways:
- Compliance with GDPR and other local data laws
- Safely delete user information once it’s no longer needed
- High levels of encryption to prevent data theft
The software also helps to limit access to your office by giving team members and visitors an easy way to enter the premises and sign in while restricting unauthorized users.
Work From a Secure Network
Where possible, managers must ensure their staff are signed into a secure network. However, securing your network is crucial with remote and hybrid work now the norm. Make sure remote workers are connecting to the office through a secure virtual private network (VPN) or cloud. It can be a good idea to create a comprehensive company policy that outlines clear guidelines, for example, that connecting to the workplace via public Wi-Fi is strictly forbidden.
Train Your Staff
In many instances, security breaches could have been prevented if staff had been regularly informed and reminded about business protocols. According to 2021 research by Egress, 43% of phishing attacks happened because security protocols were not being followed.
Meanwhile, the same percentage related to team members accidentally leaking organizational information due to rushing and making mistakes.
Simply informing employees about security procedures when they join your company is not enough. Over time, they may forget or policies may change. As such, regular training and reminders are critical.
Some things employees should receive instruction on:
- The dangers of connecting to unsecured networks;
- How to report a security breach;
- How to identify and address potential security threats.
If you provide refresher training every 3–6 months, your employees are more likely to remember the necessary protocols.
Closing The Security Gaps
Workplaces are becoming a tempting prospect for cybercriminals which can result in significant damage for your business if your systems are breached. Companies must increasingly protect themselves from potential security threats.
Start by assessing any possible gaps in your security chain that pose a risk to your business, and then invest in the technology and tools to close them. Lastly, provide training to employees so everyone is on board and understands their contribution in helping to prevent security breaches in the workplace.