Why your employees are your biggest cybersecurity risk

Gone are the days when cybersecurity was simply a buzzword or an afterthought – in today’s reality, protecting your data, systems, infrastructure and cloud storage is key to running a successful business.

But, as cyber threats become more sophisticated, and harder to spot, employers need to take a hard look at where cyber risk exists within their operations – and it’s often closer than you think.

“In the majority of cases, the end user is the weak link,” says Florin Soltan, cybersecurity product manager at Ottawa’s latest ICT provider, Acronym Solutions. “They’re unknowingly connecting to public networks, clicking on phishing scams or are leaving themselves vulnerable with weak login credentials.”

Remote work has also added an extra layer of complexity to the issue now that employees are no longer working on a single network, in a single location. Employees are sharing computer access, and computer network access, with their families, or working from a local coffee shop unaware that this is introducing threats to their network.

Without a multi-faceted cybersecurity plan that reaches all levels of employees, companies are leaving themselves open to complex, and pricey issues such as malware attacks, data breaches and ransomware, adds Soltan.

And with the rise of new technology such as AI, hackers are able to employ even more sophisticated attacks such as deepfake data, impersonation and password cracking software, making it easier to infiltrate the network through an unsuspecting employee.

"In the majority of cases, the end user is the weak link, they’re unknowingly connecting to public networks, clicking on phishing scams or are leaving themselves vulnerable with weak login credentials.”

What do you need to properly protect your business – and your employees?

While terms such as firewall and antivirus are likely familiar, the traditional approach of a single software solution is no longer enough to keep your team secure, says Joe Parent, vice-president of product and marketing at Acronym.

In today’s remote work environment, companies and IT teams need a multi-layered approach to cybersecurity that goes beyond blocking viruses and pop-ups.

“To be fully effective, you need to protect employees whether they’re in the office or at home,” says Parent. “That means thinking beyond typical network protection and adopting a full coverage approach.”

Tools such as virtual private networks (VPNs) can be paired with antivirus software and endpoint detection tools to create a more secure remote work session, adds Soltan, but even that isn’t enough.

When hackers are able to replicate an email from your boss in a phishing scheme or compromise your company network or data in a malware attack, it takes a dedicated team of professionals to detect and stop a cyber incident.

“It can often be tempting to install these tools and think they’ll do all the work, but that’s not the case,” says Soltan. “There’s a human element that is needed as well – you have to have someone vigilantly watching for weak points and new threats, a team of threat hunters.”

How can Acronym Solutions Inc. help?

A newcomer to the Ottawa market, but an established communications provider with over two decades of experience, Acronym is uniquely qualified to help businesses manage and secure their data and network assets.

Hailing from the utilities sector – and responsible for managing the communications network for Hydro One – Acronym has dependability and vigilance built into its DNA, says Parent.

Offering a wide range of cyber security services to cater to companies of any size, Acronym is able to help customers understand where they are at in their cybersecurity journey, and find the right solutions to protect their business.

“We’ll often start with an assessment to let our customers know where they have gaps in their cybersecurity and help them to identify and mitigate their biggest risks,” adds Parent.

Through Acronym, companies have the ability to choose only the layers of protection that they need and can benefit from a wide range of fully managed solutions. Those solutions can include the support of a 24/7/365 expert cybersecurity incident response team that can mitigate and address any threats.

“Whether you’re a company of 25 employees or 1,000 employees we bring the same level of knowledge and expertise to the table,” says Parent. “Cybersecurity is a complex issue, but here at Acronym we have your back.”

About Acronym

Acronym Solutions Inc. is a full-service information and communications technology (ICT) company that provides a range of scalable and secure Network, Voice & Collaboration, Security, Cloud and Managed IT Solutions. We support Canadian businesses, large enterprises, service providers, healthcare providers, public-sector organizations and utilities. We leverage our extensive network expertise to design and build customized, fully scalable solutions to help our customers grow their businesses and realize their full potential. With more than 20 years’ experience managing the communications system that enables Ontario’s electrical grid, Acronym is uniquely positioned to understand the mission-critical needs of any business to deliver the innovative and reliable services that respond to the changing demands of businesses, and support rapid growth and digital transformation initiatives.

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