What are the cyber risks lurking in your office?

What are the cyber risks lurking in your office?

Cybersecurity risk comes in many forms. Some people associate the term with hackers using advanced techniques to infiltrate a company’s network. Others assume it’s a new strain of malware that’s making the rounds. Both examples classify as ‘cyber risks,’ but these only cover external threats caused by cybercriminals.

Many organisations fail to realise that there are several cybersecurity risks that lurk within the office.

Enterprise printers

While most security risks tend to come from PCs and servers, enterprise printers also pose a threat to your organisation. Printers have internal hard drives that store records of previous print jobs. If cybercriminals manage to hack the printer’s operating system (OS), they can gain access to sensitive documents saved in print queues. This means tax forms, financial statements, employee records, and other frequently printed files may be compromised.

Today’s printers also connect to the office network via Wi-Fi, making them susceptible to a slew of attacks. Without sufficient security measures, skilled hackers can intercept print requests from computers and even remotely seize control of the printer.

High-end encryption and threat monitoring tools are key to securing these vulnerabilities. The former prevents hackers from gleaning information from print queues while the latter detects network intrusions like unusual printer activity. In addition to these security measures, update your printer OS regularly to defend against the newest threats.

Internet of Things (IoT) devices

Any networked device gives hackers a potential entry point into your system. It’s not just printers that are hackable, but also various IoT devices like smart thermostats, CCTVs, and lights.

What makes these devices so vulnerable is that they lack built-in security features to prevent advanced cyberattacks. This was why hackers were able to easily control thousands of smart cameras and shut down a major service provider in 2016. Plus, companies often forget to change the factory default passwords of their smart gadgets, making them incredibly easy to hack.

There are many ways to minimise IoT risks to your business. For starters, you should install powerful firewalls and regularly update your smart gadget’s firmware. A reliable device manufacturer should be releasing these constantly to defend against the latest attacks. You’ll also want to set strong passwords and create an isolated network for smart gadgets to limit cybercriminals’ options.

Personal devices

Bring your own device (BYOD) is a policy where employees use their personal gadgets for work. It enables companies to save a fortune on hardware and allows employees to work with devices they’re comfortable with. However, BYOD comes with a unique set of risks. 

Personal devices go in and out of the company’s network, making it difficult to enforce security best practices. You don’t know what unsecured public networks employees are connecting to or what apps they’re installing on their device. For all you know, your employees’ devices may have malware that automatically spreads into your corporate network. 

What’s worse, when personal devices are lost or stolen, the risk of identity theft and compromised data increases exponentially.

A mobile device management (MDM) platform solves these issues. It requires users to register their personal devices to a central console that you can monitor and manage. This not only lets you detect unsafe activities, but it also allows you to distribute patches and security settings company-wide. You can, for example, set stringent data access restrictions to control what devices can access outside the corporate network. MDM tools even let you remotely track and wipe lost devices to protect their contents.

Malicious insiders 

A far more insidious threat within your office is when an employee goes rogue. Disgruntled workers (or even corporate spies) can use their access privileges to inflict serious damage on your business. Oftentimes, it’s difficult to notice these attacks because registered insider accounts circumvent traditional security measures. 

The first thing you should do is limit access privileges so users can’t access files outside their job roles. If an employee’s contract has been terminated, you must also have automated procedures that revoke system access right away. Finally, monitor for suspicious activity like attempts to access unauthorised systems or downloading large quantities of data from company servers.

Negligent employees

Although there are insiders hellbent on harming your business, many employees can cause problems just by making mistakes. In fact, the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner (OAIC) reports that human error is usually to blame for data breaches. Employees tend to misplace paperwork or disclose sensitive information to the wrong person. More egregious offences include bad password habits and falling victim to phishing scams.

These errors will continue to occur unless employees are fully aware of the risks they create. That’s why you must regularly teach employees about the latest scams, proper file management, and password best practices. Then, test your employees’ security awareness with simulated exercises.

Reducing your company’s exposure to risk is no small feat. Whether your biggest cybersecurity woes are coming from devices or employees, it’s important to have expert support engineers on your side. Give Empower IT Solutions a call if you need help setting up advanced security controls and training. We’re the managed IT services provider Australian businesses turn to when it comes to dealing with cybersecurity issues.