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The Importance of Cybersecurity for Staffing Organizations

The invention of the internet has made life exponentially easier, while also strangely making it much more complicated. When the World Wide Web grants us access to news and information in real-time, connectivity to our financial lives 24/7, and the ability to order groceries for delivery to our doorsteps, life is pretty easy. But when hackers and cybercriminals get a hold of our sensitive information, things can get difficult rather quickly. 

The fact is no one, even the largest staffing organizations, is immune from cyberattacks. Ultimately, most companies will find that the best approach for most companies is a strong defense that minimizes the risk

Why Are HR Departments And Staffing Organizations Vulnerable To Cyber-attacks?

On any given day, HR departments and staffing agencies receive a tremendous amount of emails and file attachments from potential applicants. Obviously, these communications are received from people outside of their organization with whom they might’ve had no prior contact. But, due to the nature of their job, they’re required to field these inquiries. This alone makes HR departments and staffing agencies the perfect target for cybercriminals and hackers. 

In addition to the daily onslaught of emails from strangers, HR departments are also the gatekeepers of sensitive information on all employees. From social security numbers and bank accounts, to birth dates and addresses, it’s a virtual treasure trove for hackers. 

But companies don’t just hold sensitive information on their employees; they also hold plenty of sensitive information on their clients. From financial information to sensitive, internal  information, this too can be a gold mine for cybercriminals. Not only can hackers sell this information on the black market, but they can also go on to use this information for future phishing scams against those companies.  

Common Tactics Cybercriminals Use To Attack Organizations

And as the internet continues to evolve, so too does cybercrime. Norton Internet Security estimates that there are more than 2,200 cyberattacks per day, which roughly translates to one cyber attack every 39 seconds. Some of the most common tactics of hackers are:

  • Phishing scams
  • Payroll scams
  • Social Engineering Attacks 
  • Malware
  • Ransomware

Best Practices To Protect Your Staffing Organization Against Cyber Attacks

While there is no foolproof way to defend against cyber-attacks, here are some steps staffing organizations can take to minimize the risk. 

Train Your Staff On Important Safety Measures

When employees receive personal information through their company email address, this can create a potential breach point for cybercriminals. 

To minimize this risk, encourage your staff to separate work and personal devices, and use each accordingly. And of course, encourage your employees to use strong passwords and change them frequently. 

Beyond minding how they handle their emails, all employees should be trained to detect a social engineering attack. Common red flags of a social engineering attack include:

  • Request for personal information
  • Requests for user information or shared credentials
  • Request for financial information
  • Unusual links and files

Employees should think twice before offering any of the types of information outlined above or clicking on suspicious links and files. 

Keep Sensitive Information On A Need To Know Basis

To further mitigate the risk of cyberattacks, organizations should consider limiting access to sensitive information to a need-to-know basis.  

To that end, companies need to implement a system with multiple layers of security. Ideally, the most sensitive information is the core of that system, and access is limited to only a handful of employees with the required clearance. 

Stay Up-to-date On The Latest Cyber Threats And Software Updates 

Not only should your organization ensure that all software is regularly updated to the latest versions, but updates and security patches should be done immediately when they become available. 

More often than not, organizations and their IT departments tend to drag their feet on patches —sometimes taking days or even weeks to implement those updates. 

This can be incredibly dangerous because somewhere out there, there’s a hacker just waiting to take advantage of your procrastination. Remember that while you are alerted to the possibility of a security issue, you can bet that someone targeting your organization has their ear to the ground as well, and they’re well aware of the opportunity they’ve been afforded.

Implement Strong Cybersecurity Policies For Remote Work

The number of people working remotely has exploded in the last two years. Though most companies understand the risk, most have not implemented policies to this effect. Worse still, there are still some organizations out there that don’t realize that having a dispersed workforce creates tons of opportunities for cybercriminals to do their dirty work. Employees working off-site while regularly accessing cloud-based platforms and sharing sensitive information on said platforms are a massive threat to any organization. To mitigate this risk, company leaders should think about implementing multi-factor authentication to secure their systems. 

Perform Regular Cyber Security Audits

One of the best things any organization can do to protect itself against cyberattacks is to hire someone to perform cyber security audits regularly. Cybersecurity audits do a deep dive into your organization’s existing security measures to detect vulnerabilities, risks, and potential threats. Once you know where your weaknesses are, you can then take the necessary steps to fix those issues and close up any loopholes.

Have An IT Backup Plan 

An IT backup plan is a crucial part of any cyber security initiative. And in the case of a cyberattack or ransom, an IT backup plan may be the difference between a minor hiccup and a disaster of epic proportions, not to mention a price tag that could be in the millions. A good IT backup plan should include:  

  • Operating systems
  • Software
  • Files
  • Passwords
  • Emails
  • CRMs
  • Website
  • Custom code
  • Media (photos, videos, etc.)
  • Contact information
  • Certifications
  • Contracts

Treat Cybersecurity Like It’s A Financial Issue, Not Just An IT Issue

More often than not, organizations tend to treat cybersecurity like it’s just an IT issue. But considering that the latest estimates put the average cost of recovering from a cyberattack at a whopping 4 million dollars, it should be abundantly clear that cybersecurity is, in fact, a financial issue and should be treated as such. 

One final note, it’s important to note that cyber-security should be approached as a living methodology within your organization. As our technology evolves day after day, month after month, and year after year, so too do the types of cyber threats our organizations can and will encounter. Failure to periodically reassess and redirect your company’s security policies could lead to a cyberattack that proves to be one attack too many. 

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