More than ever, businesses are assessing their vulnerabilities in order to mitigate future breaches and cyber attacks. As we’ve seen from recent incidents, cyber attacks can have a devastating impact on both reputation and customer trust. However, as a recent survey has shown, the greatest threat to your business may be lurking within.

The vast majority (97%) of employees have access to some form of sensitive or confidential information, and 1 in 3 employees said they would access, download, share, delete or alter company information after leaving a job. While insider risks aren’t new, they rarely receive the attention they deserve.

Security concerns for businesses now encompass threats ranging from sophisticated Ransomware taking over a user’s computer, to employees going rogue with sensitive information. While risk management can be a very long process and results may not appear for months or years, it can yield tangible results in keeping the business safe in the long run. So how can businesses streamline employee productivity and also improve their data protection, all without breaking the bank? Here are a few tools to help achieve this:

  1. Passwords don’t cause breaches. Employees with bad password practices cause breaches
When employees are forced to remember multiple and complex passwords, they get sloppy. When they get sloppy, your business becomes vulnerable to cyberattacks. Even employees who should know better have lapses. Nearly two thirds (65%) of IT professionals admit to sharing login credentials with multiple users. By integrating an inexpensive Identity and Access Management (IAM) solution with dynamic password management, your employees only need one portal and one password to log into their web applications. In fact, dynamic password management automates the selection and changing of passwords to help ensure they’re both complex and unique across all accounts. So your users will never need to remember or have to regularly change the passwords to their web applications again.
  1. Deploy a cloud file sharing service that’s easy to use
Paraphrasing Sun Tzu: if you know your opponent and know yourself, you will not be defeated in a hundred battles. So, the best way to avoid users uploading their files to consumer-grade services (e.g. Dropbox, Google Docs etc.) is to understand why they gravitate toward those services in the first place.

Millennials, for example, are now the largest generation in the workforce, and 28% of Millennials admitted to saving files to personal cloud storage. That’s because these services make uploading and sharing files absolutely simple.

Therefore, when selecting a file sharing service, pick a business-grade product that’s intuitive and reliable. When you find one that’s easy, start off small with a limited number of users and once the service has been positively received, you can easily scale it up since it’s cloud-based.

Don’t be a dictator. Forcing something on users that they don’t want will just waste time and money.

  1. If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em: Select a file sharing service that also offers backup
File sharing services traditionally aren’t recommended to be used as reliable backup services. Vendors in tune with their users however will have realised that employees can also often be the honey badgers of the IT world and ignore this recommendation completely. Rather than fighting or trying to change user habits, look for a file sync and share service that offers a comprehensive backup component that captures all the changes you make to your files in real-time. This enables your employees to restore files in the event of a disaster. It also makes all files instantly available via web and mobile devices, improving collaboration across your company and increasing the flexibility of your workforce.
  1. Ease your email managing woes with archiving fit for Indiana Jones
To the best of my knowledge, no one enjoys exploring the depths of archived and/or deleted emails, but it’s something you might be faced with one day. For example, many well-intentioned employees spend their final day at a company clearing out their computers. But what happens if in a week or more, you realise you’re missing some critical files? Email archiving is a great service to have because all user data is stored in a central repository to allow IT admins to perform a single search across every mailbox in your account. In fact, even the full text of all attachments is searchable.

Companies need to approach security as though they are going to suffer a breach or cyber attack in the next 6 months. While it’s important to have a plan in place, that’s just not enough. By investing in the inexpensive tools outlined above, you can severely mitigate your risk and keep your business safe in the long run – all without tanking your IT budget.

By Richard Walters, General Manager and Vice President of Identity and Access Management (IAM), Intermedia