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Why Are Employees Ignoring Cybersecurity Practices?

Cybersecurity best practices are an essential part of most businesses in the modern age, so why are employees ignoring them? The answer may lie in how challenging they perceive security measures to be. Why Employees Ignore Cybersecurity Practices

Employees often don’t follow cybersecurity measures that frustrate them or take too much time, often resulting in risky behavior and lax adherence to protocol. For example, someone may get annoyed they have to update their password so often, leading them to make it incredibly short and easy to guess.

Remote work may also be a cause for concern, bringing about unique security weaknesses and encouraging risk-taking behavior. For example, one survey found 52% of remote employees felt they could get away with unsafe conduct. They would send confidential information through unsecured messaging platforms or use unsafe websites and extensions.

Employees typically ignore cybersecurity policies when they feel security measures are annoying and meaningless. While they aren’t intentionally malicious, workers may find it easier to do their job when they can find workarounds.

How Ignorance Affects Businesses

It may seem relatively harmless for employees to reuse passwords or use unsecured networks, but employee negligence is expensive. Data breaches in the U.S. totaled $4.35 million on average in 2022. Additionally, there was a 17% increase in data breach costs from 2021 to 2022 — the highest in nearly two decades.

There may be worse implications for specific industries. Cyberattacks targeted over 61% of small businesses in the U.S. in 2021, bringing many operations to a complete standstill. Breaches due to employee negligence may be particularly damaging for them because they often depend on consistent revenue and lack a safety net.

Cybersecurity for small businesses is typically lenient, which makes it more impactful when employees are careless with their online behavior. Such events can cause significant damage they may not be able to recover from.

Cybersecurity Best Practices to Implement

While most employees likely have training on cybersecurity best practices, it doesn’t hurt to retrain them to ensure they’re aware. Keeping them updated on simple security tips can reduce the likelihood they’ll make a mistake that impacts their company.

To preserve security integrity, employees must follow cybersecurity best practices:

  • Frequently change passwords.

  • Keep software updated.

  • Use multi-factor authentication.

  • Report anything suspicious.

If employees ignore a company’s cybersecurity policy, it’s best to educate them about cybersecurity best practices even if they’ve already heard them. Repetition and increased emphasis may help them understand the importance of compliance.

How to Stop Employees From Ignoring Cybersecurity

While employees are one of the primary causes of security breaches, it is often unintentional and only occurs because they believe following security protocol would impede their ability to perform their jobs. The company ultimately must take the initiative to stop them from ignoring policy.

1. Take Preventive Action

Preventive action is arguably the most important step businesses can take to protect themselves against data breaches caused by employees. These measures can include multi-factor authentication, firewall installation or automatic password updates. Smaller businesses can implement limited data access since they may have a smaller budget.

While training employees on cybersecurity protocol might seem like the best approach, a study found 64% of participants in such programs don’t pay attention or take the material seriously. Employers can proactively install security software in anticipation of employee negligence or emphasize the importance of security.

2. Monitor and Maintain Compliance

Even with prevention, employers should monitor if employees comply with cybersecurity policy. Considering the Federal Bureau of Investigation categorized business email compromises as the highest-cost cyberattack of 2022, it’s vital for employees to retain proper cybersecurity awareness.

3. React Swiftly and Accordingly

Despite security measures, data breaches are sometimes unavoidable. Organizations should develop a strategy to respond to cyberattacks. Employees should be able to recognize the signs of a potential breach and know how to bring it to the attention of relevant employees.

Employees Shouldn’t Ignore Cybersecurity Practices

Workers may feel ignoring their cybersecurity policy is not a big deal, but it has significant legal and financial ramifications. It’s beneficial for employers to develop a proactive strategy to combat negligence.


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