Network security breaches are frequently grabbing the headlines, often with the same angle of how big was the hack, who was affected and what information was taken. The majority of the time, the source of the hacks tend to be influenced by which actor or which technical error occurred. While these data breach stories grab readers attention, we need to rethink how these kinds of hacks really occur.
Today, companies are increasing their cybersecurity budget by implementing different security solutions to fight off hackers. This is good news as we are not just depending upon best practices. However, there is one security patch that can never be fully fixed — the errors committed by the company’s employees.
Every organization is aware of the risk of human error. Employees occasionally commit mistakes, which can hurt the network of their company. However, not all organizations realize how dangerous human errors can be when it comes to the network security of the organization.
So how do you help lead your employees past some of the common and painful network security mistakes?
Here are the 5 most common network security mistakes by your employees and how to fix them.
1. Using Weak Passwords
One of the most common network security threats is the usage of weak passwords. When passwords are not set using the correct procedures, they can be easily hacked by external actors which will allow them to infiltrate the company‘s network.
Passwords are considered one of the most common forms of security, and they can be highly effective when used properly to protect the privacy of data stored on servers across the network. The use of weak passwords can easily be resolved by educating employees about strong passwords and the part they play in keeping hackers away. For critical and sensitive business data, implementing a stronger password-protection system like periodic expiration of the password and multi-factor authentication can provide an additional layer of security against hackers.
2. Using a Traditional VPN
More and more companies have adopted remote workers and the migration of their critical applications to the cloud. Traditional VPN services are too tolerant, allowing staff to access their company’s network for their day-to-day work. As a result, these resources assume unwarranted visibility and become more receptive to compromise.
Instead of providing your employees with a traditional Business VPN or an OpenVPN alternative, you should adopt an organization-wide Software-Defined Perimeter solution. Implementing a Software-Defined Perimeter will allow you to restrict network access and provide customized, manageable and secure access to networked systems.
Traditional security models are designed to protect the perimeter to fight off threats that try to exploit your company’s network. By implementing the Zero Trust need-to-know model, each employee will gain a customized secure connection to their organization’s resources requiring access.
3. Using Unknown Devices
Employees tend to make the mistake of sharing external USB devices or using unauthorized devices which can be plugged-in any machine on the network. In addition, some employees make the potentially harmful mistake of plugging in unknown USB drives into their laptops that they find around the office.
These devices may contain a virus that could spread from one infected computer to another. Employees should refrain from using these kinds of devices that were not authorized by the administrators of their network. Organizations should set up company policies that prohibit employees from using their own devices which might have been controlled remotely by a hacker.
4. Using Free WiFi Hotspots for Work
Public Wi-Fi hotspots are convenient when abroad on vacation, at a cafe, and at the airport. Remote workers and employees who frequently travel for business often take advantage of public Wi-Fi to work on the go. However, connecting to public Wi-Fi for accessing your company’s network can prove risky to your employees as these networks are easy to hack. Hackers can easily gain access to the company’s confidential and sensitive data.
Hackers can also use public Wi-Fi hotspots to install malware on the mobile devices of those employees who have enabled file-sharing on their system. To fight off the hackers, organizations should advise employees to avoid using public Wi-Fi networks to connect to corporate resources without a secure network as a service solution that incudes DNS Filtering.
5. Unauthorized Application Installation
Another common security threat by your employees is the installation of unauthorized applications on the company’s network. This can be a critical threat to a company because it just takes a few small installation steps for a small program to take control of the whole network.
This can easily be fixed by revoking administrative access for most employees. Another way to fix this type of threat is by training employees the importance of third-party credibility and authenticity. This can be enough to make employees aware of the threats posed by the installation of unauthorized applications.
The human factor is one of the main issues in ensuring the security of corporate systems. More and more often attackers choose to slip into the corporate network by attacking the employees, rather than hacking into the infrastructure directly from outside the perimeter.
To prevent attackers from getting inside your company’s infrastructure, your organization’s employees should be properly educated about security and the risks involved. By properly educating your employees with network security best practices, they will provide an additional layer of defense against hackers attempting to gain access to your network.
We hope you found this post helpful! Feel free to share any network security mistakes that you have witnessed in the comments section below. If you’d like to learn more about the many advantages a Zero Trust Network as a Service, check out our blog 5 Non-Disruptive Tips to Get Started with Zero Trust Network Security.