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Why Cybersecurity Matters for HR in Today's Hybrid Work Environment

The rise in cyber attacks and remote work has resulted in more overlap between HR and IT. HR leaders are thinking about safely shipping devices to new employees and cloud-based environments ready to support remote work. They need a strong knowledge base and cybersecurity support system now more than ever.

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Jan 17, 2024
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Last updated on May 10, 2022

The threat of cyber attacks against small businesses continues to grow, with no company too small to be a target. How are you protecting your business and employees from cyber threats?

Following a dramatic 600% increase in cyber-attacks as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, cyber criminals have persisted with their strategy of targeting vulnerabilities in remote and distributed workplaces. 

The rise in cyber attacks and remote work has resulted in more overlap between HR and IT than ever before. Scrappy IT teams, defacto environments (frequently managed by HR teams), and outdated managed-service providers can’t keep up with growing demand for the enhanced cybersecurity needs of today’s growing SMBs.

Gone are the days of desktop computers and HR professionals concerned about confidential employee information being left on a fax machine. HR teams are thinking about safely shipping devices to new employees, secure internet connections, threatening phishing scams, and protected cloud-based environments ready to support and manage remote work. 

What is cybersecurity?

Cybersecurity is the practice of protecting data, devices, networks, programs, and systems against attacks. These attacks, known as cyberattacks, are designed to abuse weaknesses in a user’s device or enterprise’s system in order to disable, destroy, steal, or disrupt their data and/or operations. 

Due to growing cybersecurity threats, organizations have found their needs evolving quicker than their IT function can keep up with. 

How cybersecurity has evolved

Cybersecurity has grown from simple roots of creating unique passwords and building risk awareness to ransomware protection and crisis response plans. Today’s cyber threats include everything from entire systems held for ransom and theft of entire databases, to hackers stealing confidential information and more. Cybercriminals and their tactics are becoming smarter, more sophisticated and scarier. The shift to remote and hybrid work has only exacerbated exposures for organizations. 

What’s at risk for your organization

  • Banking information and financial losses
  • Credibility
  • Productivity
  • Business operations
  • Sensitive data
  • Proprietary information
  • Trade secrets
  • Equipment losses

Good cybersecurity requires work and commitment from multiple parties. An effective blend of people and technology practices provide your best prevention odds.

Download Electric’s Business Cybersecurity Checklist — your step-by-step guide to securing your business and its most valuable assets.

People best practices

  • Establish a cybersecurity culture: Make cybersecurity a priority and a regular part of discussions and meetings. Treat it as a normal, yet integral, part of business operations.
  • Conduct a regular cyber risk assessment: Consider an annual (at least) review of your cyber risk. This includes updating policies as needed, evaluating software, reviewing risks, and more.
  • Institute workplace policies: Build a structured set of rules for employees to follow. Include the cyber policies and procedures as part of orientation and inform employees of updates on a regular basis. Make sure employees know what is expected of them when it comes to cybersecurity.
  • Create strong password policies and requirements: Ongoing password management can help prevent unauthorized attackers from compromising your agency’s protected information.
  • Secure appropriate cyber insurance coverage: Based on the assessment of your company’s risk, determine what type of cyber policy is right for you.
  • Provide security training: Offer (and mandate if at all possible) cyber training that will educate employees on cyber threats and how to stay safe. Employees are your first line of protection.
  • Create an incident response plan: In case of emergency, know what will be done in case of a data breach or other cyber incident. Create a clear set of responsibilities and who needs to carry them out.

Technology best practices

  • Implement SSO (Single-Sign On): SSO helps employees deal with password fatigue and makes the login process much easier. The fewer passwords, the lower chance of 20 post-its with passwords on a desk.
  • Use 2FA/MFA (Two-factor/Multi-factor Authentication): While complex passwords can help discourage cyber criminals, they can still be hacked. 2FA adds a layer of security by requiring users to provide extra information, e.g. a text code to access systems.
  • Install anti-virus/anti-malware software and keep it current: This is not a one and done install.
  • Install patches and updates on a regular basis: Download and install software updates for your operating systems and applications as they become available. Many cybercriminals exploit systems that have not implemented bug fixes.
  • Backup data plan: Ensure you have a system in place, most likely cloud or off-site storage, that will provide a secure option.

Creating new policies, installing new software, and monitoring devices to protect against cyber threats is a lot of work, especially if you’re working with limited IT resources in-house, but today’s HR leaders don’t have to go it alone. 

Electric’s team of cybersecurity experts are on hand to provide you with the guidance and solutions you need to defend your business from cyber attacks. Get in touch to learn more about enhancing cybersecurity at your organization. 

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