Employees can actually act as a powerful defence against cyber-security threats. Photo: Pixabay

DURBAN – Employees are seen as one of the biggest threats to an organisation’s IT security however according to Charl Ueckermann, chief executive at AVeS Cyber Security, they can actually act as a powerful defence against cyber-security threats.

Ueckermann said, “Educating employees on cyber threats and how to use IT resources and the internet securely can help lower security risks, as well as the costs associated with managing those risks. 

He added that employees can unintentionally expose their company networks and data to cyber threats in many ways. 

These actions pose a danger not only to the company network but to the end-users themselves. Besides the risk of malware, they could open themselves up to the risk of fraud or identity theft.

However, when employees are aware of the risks associated with these actions, and they understand the dos and don’ts, they become contributors to the IT security strategy rather than a threat.

“Protecting an organisation’s networks and data takes both technological and behavioural intervention. In fact, effective IT security is the result of managed interplay between people, processes and technology," said Ueckermann. 

The chief executive concluded with tips for enjoying technology without fear:

  1. Avoid connecting to open WiFi networks. Wait until you can connect to a secure WiFi network, especially if you are going to be doing anything sensitive such as banking or accessing your company network. 
  2. Choose strong passwords for your online accounts that mixes numbers, letters and characters.
  3. Don’t use your company email address when signing up for a social media account. If the social media account is hacked, you could inadvertently expose other business information.
  4. Make purchases using trusted online sites. Only submit credit card details on sites that supply encrypted and secure connections. Look in the address bar for https: rather than http. The “s” stands for secure. Secure sites may also have a padlock icon in the address bar.
  5. Be careful what you download from the internet because you could inadvertently download malware onto your phone or computer. 
  6. Be careful about what you post online. Do not give away any information that could help a cyber criminal identify who you are, where you work, where you live or any other personal details. 
  7. Do not share your contact details, banking information or any other personal information with anyone you do not know.
  8. Don’t click on links in emails or open attachments in unsolicited emails from people you do not know.
  9. Install antivirus software on your computer and mobile devices up-to-date.
  10. Take heed of your company’s security policies around the usage of email and IT resources. These policies are in place to protect you and the company. You have a role to play in lowering IT security risks.

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