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Five security risks faced by the modern workforce and how you can avoid them

The modern workplace sees work and home life co-existing through new technology that diversifies the work environment. When your employees’ workplace is anywhere, they can enjoy more benefits and flexibility, and can even improve productivity, but it also can put the security of your company at risk if you don’t have the proper protection in place.

Five security risks faced by the modern workforce and how you can avoid them

According to the Australian Government Department of Communications, the average cost of an individual cybersecurity breach to a business is $276,000.

In the same study we find that in 93 per cent of the cybercrime cases reviewed it took hackers only minutes to breach security systems. More concerning, these breaches took companies weeks or months to notice.

It’s important to be proactive about security and have a solution ready from the start to avoid a potential cyber breach.

Five of the most common security risks


Australia is ranked seventh in the list of top phishing hosting countries, according to a study by RSA.

Phishing occurs when cybercriminals trick you into clicking malicious attachments or links, usually sent via an email. Hackers have become increasingly sophisticated, making phishing emails, links and websites seem extremely realistic but, when you click through, it’s a doorway for hackers to access your employees’ personal and company information as they complete fake forms.

How to avoid this: firstly, educate your employees about the importance of double-checking before clicking on attachments and links. If a file looks suspicious or if the sender is not known, treat it with apprehension. Secondly, ensure the systems and software the company is currently using have security measures in place to block phishing threats.

Unauthorised downloads

Installing unauthorised applications can create security breaches, some of which run scripts that take control of computers or spread viruses onto networks. You can tell an application is dangerous if you see a pop-up message that advises the security protocols in place cannot verify its authenticity. However, there may not be any warning, making it easy for users to unwittingly download unauthorised apps.

How to avoid this: ensure only a specific team or select few employees have administrative access to download applications, and require these employees to research the apps to ensure they’re legitimate.

Weak passwords

Passwords are a company’s weakest link, and cybercriminals will exploit it. Weak, default or stolen passwords make up 63 per cent of all security breaches. This is because guessing passwords is usually the first trick of a hacker; it is the easiest way of breaking into a system.

How to avoid this: educating your company about the importance of strong passwords is a good place to start. But, as humans can be forgetful, use technology which has a high standard of security requirements for passwords.

Lack of remote security

One benefit of a modern workforce is the flexibility to work remotely, however this can pose a threat to company security. When working remotely, it is crucial for employees to access internal systems and information but, if the device doesn’t have adequate security solutions in place, then it poses a risk to the whole company. Transferring files from work devices to personal devices, allowing non-company personnel to use company devices, and using a bring-your-own device with basic-level protection are just some of the loopholes and potential breaches waiting to happen.

How to avoid this: it’s important to have a company policy around appropriate use of devices. For example, it should prohibit employees from transferring files between company and non-company devices. Using software that also has extra encryption, such as advanced information protection, will further safeguard your company.

Outdated software

Although you may find that notifications and system reboots often happen at the most inconvenient times, it’s important to remain vigilant about updating software when the notification first appears. These updates are pushed through to fix security vulnerabilities. These vulnerabilities are made public so, when deciding not to run an update, you increase the risk of an attack through these weak spots.

How to avoid this: make sure your company policy is to install patches and updates as soon as they’re available, and communicate why it’s important to your staff members so they don’t ignore the notifications.

Microsoft Office 365 was designed for the modern workforce and addresses the security challenges businesses face. It offers robust security and advanced threat protection, data loss prevention and encryption, broad spectrum threat intelligence, and intelligent compliance solutions.

This post is part of the Modern Workplace blog series. At Empired we have great depth of experience in helping organisations on their journey to creating a modern workplace. Talk to us to find out how we can help you get started.

Your work, your way, securely

Posted by: Gavin van Niekerk, Principal Consultant | 09 October 2019

Tags: Security, Digital Workplace, Collaboration, Modern Workplace, #workyourwaysecurely

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