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[10.05.2018]

Why weak personal security is a risk to business

 

Many businesses are improving their IT security and are becoming better protected against cyber threats, says Andrew Picker of DNG Dove Naish, but the weaknesses in personal security of employees can pose a threat.

Cyber security in business

We’ve all become quite used to the idea of business security. In business environments, there are often well-defined procedures and protocols for using IT and most businesses and employees understand the potential risks in those environments.

But what about our personal security? We’re often less careful outside the work environment and many of us have a large digital footprint.

Personal digital security

Email is a particular concern. If you think about it, your email address is a linchpin for pretty much everything else you do online. It’s the primary building block for most authentications. If you need to reset a password, where does the link get sent?

Many of us are quite lax over password protection too. We’re asked to remember so much information for so many different online applications, we end up going for the easy option and repeating the same letter/number combination.

In a business, you’re often encouraged to change your password frequently, perhaps every 30 days. But when did you last change it on your home PC or laptop? In some cases, it can be five, ten or even fifteen years ago. So if there’s one thing you definitely do as a result of reading this short article, my plea would be that you go and change that personal password. Don’t put it off until next week or next month, as it is much too easy to forget.

Protect your personal email accounts

If someone manages to get into your personal email, it can easily help them to gain access to other services too. A door is thrown wide open. And this can have a knock-on effect to the enterprise environment too. If your personal digital security is compromised hackers may also be able to access business information if emails or documents are stored on an unprotected home PC.

Another issue is that people may not even know their personal email has been compromised and, if they do find out, they lack the expertise or resources to sort things out.

Next steps

As a business owner or manager, it may be worth talking to your staff about the potential issues that arise with private security online. After all, there’s no point in investing in your own security when it can be undermined by the personal email accounts of your employees. With the GDPR coming into play in less than three weeks taking steps to ensure your digital accounts are secure is more important that ever.

You can find out if your email security may have been compromised by visiting the free website https://haveibeenpwned.com/ which is the best known site for checking if an email address or any account associated with it has been hacked. You simply type in your email address and it will give you a description of any compromising activity on the account. If there has been any such activity it is recommended that you change the passwords on your email account, the service account that was breached and any other services where you use the same password immediately.

Andrew Picker

 

 

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