Your employees are the weakest link when it comes to your cybersecurity. You can take advantage of multiple security solutions like antivirus software, firewalls, and intrusion prevention systems (IPSs) to keep cybercriminals at bay, but one employee mistake is all it takes to jeopardize your data’s security.
In fact, according to a Proofpoint report, attackers are targeting people because exploiting user negligence is easier and more profitable than creating malicious programs or sophisticated network intrusions. Just by making a victim click on a link or send a confidential file, cybercriminals can easily infiltrate an organization’s system.
Let’s take a look at the types of employees that are the most vulnerable to cyberattacks:
#1. Human resources
The HR department’s work typically involves interacting with potential employees, making them one of the most targeted people in your company.
Cybercriminals typically pose as job applicants and send malicious files disguised as resumés to trick unwitting HR personnel into downloading the files and putting the company at risk. The document could be embedded with malicious macros that can execute harmful commands or inject dangerous code into the victim's system when opened.
The best way to protect your HR department is by creating a dedicated portal to simplify the job search process and reduce the number of documents that they receive via email. You must also teach them to always verify the legitimacy of any email they receive before opening links and attachments.
#2. Sales team
Salespeople devote a significant part of their day talking to potential customers. With just one email or phone call, the sales team can quickly disclose sensitive information such as customer lists, contracts, trade secrets, and other confidential information. This makes them an ideal target for cybercriminals.
Some cybercriminals will even research and target specific staff so they can deliver a more persuasive ploy when interacting with your business. If they manage to establish trust with sales staff, cybercriminals can seamlessly extract personally identifiable information, financial details, and proprietary records.
To mitigate the chances of a data breach, discuss with your sales department the information that they are allowed to disclose. Teach them how to secure their information online, such as by using strong passwords and multifactor authentication (MFA). More importantly, train them to be cautious with every email and phone call that they receive.
Executives are one of the top targets of cybercriminals because they have the power to access all company data, influence employees, and approve transactions.
Attackers normally send a phishing email or make a phone call under the identity of a trusted bank, government official, or IT support to trick executives into giving away sensitive information. They can then contact other employees and pose as the executive to request more confidential data and wire money to a fraudulent bank account. This is known as CEO fraud.
Much like any other employee, company executives should know the risks of sharing confidential company information, as they may be interacting with cybercriminals who want to steal the data for their own gain. Following security best practices can help as well, such as using MFA and password managers, and patching software.
While these three types of employees are more likely to become victims of a cyberattack, remember that everyone in your business can also be vulnerable. This includes people who always set weak passwords, negligently opening links and downloading attachments, and those who do not lock their computers.
To protect your business from future attacks, conduct regular cybersecurity awareness training. These should include spotting and responding to cyberattacks, developing good security practices, and keeping employees informed of the latest cyberthreats.
You can also partner with a managed IT services provider (MSP) like WDIT for reliable protection from all IT issues. Our technology experts will shield your IT infrastructure from cyberthreats 24/7/365 so you can focus on growing your business. Curious about what else we can do for you? Download our FREE eBook today!