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Cybersecurity April 30, 2024

How to ensure your employees contribute to cybersafety at work

As a business owner, you have a lot of things on your plate — whether it be improving your services, ensuring the welfare of your employees, and meeting your profit targets. However, there is also another equally important target as well: cybersecurity.


Cybercrime presents a major threat to all sorts of businesses, but even more so for small businesses who have fewer financial resources to deal with the adverse impact of cyberthreats. This is especially important in the Philippines, where 99% of registered businesses are micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs).¹


For businesses to be cybersafe, it is important all employees will do their roles. How can you ensure that? Here are some basic tips to follow:



1. Knowing proper email etiquette


Email is the most commonly used form of communication in the workplace. With emails growing to be an essential feature at your desk, cybercriminals have long exploited this feature by using them as a launchpad for their scams.


As a business owner, it is important to ensure that everyone knows how to use emails properly. For example, they must know the common signs of phishing — such as grammatical errors, a message from an unknown entity, and dubious links to a website. Employees must also be wary of downloading attachments from unknown senders, lest they risk downloading malware and other viruses into their laptops.


Emails are one of the major sources of data in the workplace. As such, it is important for everyone to know how to use them safely.



2. Encourage password changes if the situation calls for it


A “strong” password, meaning one that’s difficult to guess, consists of a combination of uppercase letters, lowercase letters, numbers, and symbols. While it takes quite some time for cybercriminals to crack them, there are some situations wherein it is better to err on the side of caution — which means changing your password periodically or immediately after suspicions of a compromise.


These include cases wherein you have used a public WiFi network or received notifications of suspicious activity within your account (e.g., other entities trying to log in into your account). While this does not mean you are now automatically a victim of cybercrime, these cases increase the risk of your passwords potentially being cracked.


As such, it is critical to replace the old password with an equally new strong password to keep criminals at bay. In your business, it is important that you cultivate a culture of very high awareness and proactiveness to cybersecurity.



3. Downloading software updates


Offices usually give their employees separate laptops, or smartphones in some cases, once they are hired. There are benefits to doing so, especially when it comes to cybersecurity. By separating personal time on social media and work-related tasks from each other, work-related tasks are strictly confined into the office ecosystem — thus reducing exposure to potential cybercriminals that could be found when you surf on the internet in your personal accounts.


To ensure work devices remain cybersecure, it is important for employees to regularly download software updates once they receive a notification for doing so. This is because software updates regularly come with patches that will address weaknesses in your laptop’s security infrastructure. By having these patches, the weaknesses are then removed — ensuring your laptop is more cybersecure than before.


These are some basic tips employees should follow to contribute to a safe workplace in terms of cybersecurity. However, for these cybersecurity tips to make a difference, it is ideal that employees see these practices being implemented, especially by those in leadership positions. 


That includes you as a business owner. By demonstrating that you have a basic foundation of cybersecurity, your employees are more likely to follow men and women who can do what they preach.