Employee awareness ‘vital’ to guarding against cyber crime

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Staff have to be educated about the threat posed by online criminals

With organisations in both the private and public sector stepping up their use of the internet for everything from electronic document storage to processing online payments and supporting data sharing among remote workers, many have left themselves exposed to cyber crime by failing to take the necessary security measures.

So in order to improve the extent to which their systems, servers and networks are protected, Leon Ward, field product manager at Sourcefire, explains that companies need to educate staff on how to use the web in a way that minimises the threat posed by online criminals.

"Awareness is critical," said the expert. "Having your employees aware of what they should and more importantly what they shouldn’t do is critical."

Mr Ward’s advice comes on the back of recent figures obtained by Imation Mobile Security, as the firm revealed through filing a request under the Freedom of Information Act that data breaches among local government bodies have increased by 1,069 per cent in the past five years.

What’s more, with a 935 per cent jump in such incidents within the NHS, it appears the public sector needs to take far more substantial steps to ensure it is properly handling sensitive information accordingly – especially when it comes to people’s medical records.

"The massive increase in data breaches in just five years is fairly startling," said Nick Banks, head of EMEA and APAC at Imation Mobile Security.

"Perhaps more alarming is the consistent year-on-year increase in data breaches since 2007."

Given the reputational and financial consequences associated with data breaches, it is vital that both private and public bodies take sufficient steps to protect the confidential details that they handle.

Indeed, failure in this area can not only lead to substantial fines, but can also have a negative impact on the long-term performance of a business if consumers lose faith in its ability to safeguard their information.

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