10 Cybersecurity Mistakes Your Organization is (Probably) Still Making

by | Cybersecurity Fundamentals

Despite the relentless efforts of cyber guardians, organizations often find themselves inadvertently making blunders that can lead to disastrous consequences. Some of the fixes are so simple, one wonders why everybody doesn’t do it.

Here at TMG, we’ve diagnosed a few reasons. Some people are just stubbornly naive, telling themselves “Nobody would want our data, we’re not a big corporation.”  Sometimes the prevalence of cyberattacks can breed a kind of cynical laziness: “the hackers are coming, no matter what,” the thinking goes, “so it really doesn’t matter what we do.” Others put too much faith in the latest software trends: ”We spent so much money on our cybersecurity software,” they reassure themselves, “surely all that high-tech stuff will protect us.”

Well, . . . yes, . . . maybe. But too often, there are mistakes happening all over an organization that open the door to attacks, regardless of how good your firewall may be.

Here are some very common mistakes that you can and should stop making right now, today. Addressing these will immediately make your organization more cybersecure.

1. Sticking with 12345

We can’t believe we’re still talking about this one… but as long as “12345” remains the most common password, we have no choice. Too many people still cling to this digital equivalent of leaving your front door open while heading out for a vacation. It’s time for everyone in your organization to embrace strong, unique passwords for every account. Make today the day you ditch the predictability!

2. Neglecting Patches

Sure, your expensive software works like a charm, but lurking in the shadows are vulnerabilities waiting to be exploited. There’s no shame in not knowing about them–software vendors themselves often don’t know until a hacker comes along and figures them out. That’s why keeping all your software up-to-date is so essential. Neglecting regular updates and patches is akin to leaving your house’s front door unlocked.

3. Joining the Click-Happy Culture

Ever received an email from a Nigerian prince asking for your bank details? While most now laugh at such scams, organizations still struggle with phishing emails. One challenge is that the attacks have gotten more sophisticated. Instead of a long-lost deceased relative, temptation may arrive in the form of an email pretending to be your very own IT department. Train your team to recognize and report all suspicious emails—sorry, there is no royal inheritance in sight!

4. Being Too Generous with Admin Privileges

Granting unnecessary administrative privileges to employees is like giving your pet hamster the keys to your Ferrari. Limiting access to only what’s necessary helps minimize potential damage if an account is compromised. Not everyone needs to be a digital overlord.

5. Playing USB Roulette

Imagine picking up a random USB stick from the ground and plugging it into your computer. That’s essentially what organizations do when they don’t control the use of external devices. These innocent-looking USB sticks could contain malware that spreads like wildfire once unleashed. Exercise caution and invest in a good “USB Sniffer.”

6. Ignoring the Human Firewall

Your employees–those marvelous beings who juggle coffee, meetings, and the occasional existential crisis–are also your organization’s first line of defense against data breaches. Neglecting to educate them about cybersecurity is like sending soldiers into battle without helmets. Regular training empowers them to spot and tackle threats effectively.

7. Neglecting Data Hygiene

Collecting data without a clear purpose is like stocking up on canned goods for Y2K. Okay, we’re showing our age with that reference, but you get the picture. It’s an unnecessary and potentially disastrous activity. The more data you store, the more attractive you become to cybercriminals. Adopt a data-minimalist approach–ask yourself, does this data strike joy?–and keep your digital assets organized and “clean.”

8. Neglecting Your IoT Devices

Internet of Things (IoT) devices are all the rage, but as crazy as this may sound, that internet-enabled fridge in the company break-room can also be an entry point for hackers. Treating IoT devices like unwanted party crashers without monitoring and security measures is a recipe for digital chaos. Secure these devices to avoid compromising your digital festivities.

9. Clinging to Password “Post-its”

Would you write down your bank account number on a sticky note on your desk? Would you mail your social security number on a postcard? Probably not, right? But organizations essentially do exactly this when they store passwords in unsecured files. It’s time to invest in a password manager and retire the sticky notes.

10. Doing the Ostrich

Hoping that cyber threats will magically disappear is as effective as burying your head in the sand to avoid a storm. Too often organizations adopt a reactive rather than proactive stance, resulting in costly breaches. Embrace a comprehensive cybersecurity strategy to stay ahead of potential threats.

Let’s Recap

The underlying message is crystal clear: organizations must be diligent, proactive, and vigilant in safeguarding their digital assets. Cybersecurity isn’t just about technology; it’s about fostering a culture of security consciousness that permeates every facet of an organization. By avoiding these blunders and embracing best practices, your organization can navigate the digital landscape with confidence, ensuring that the fortress of cybersecurity stands strong.

And if you need help formulating that comprehensive strategy we mentioned? Contact us today. We would love to talk about the best path forward for your organization’s cybersecurity.


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