When business owners set out to evaluate their business’ most valuable assets, they often overlook what should be one of the most obvious: their employees. Employees are fundamental to business growth. It is, after all, employees who interact with customers, create products, develop brands, perform R&D, manage finances, oversee accounting, and attend to human resource matters. Yet, that’s not all they do; employees are foundational to a business’ security, which in turn, is also fundamental to business growth.
Business security clears the way for business growth
When businesses have strong security measures in place, they are better positioned for growth because they can more safely explore new markets and supply chain opportunities and are protected from dangers that could threaten their resilience and survival. In addition, businesses with a strong security posture also benefit from an enhanced reputation, which improves customer confidence and makes them more attractive to potential business partners and investors.
It shouldn’t be surprising, therefore, that the reverse is also true. A lack of security leaves businesses exposed to crime and crime can adversely affect business growth, not to mention cause serious financial damage. This is true whether the business is the victim of physical crime such as theft of equipment or harm to employees while they’re working at the office, or of cyber crime such as theft of customer or employee data, or proprietary business information. Small and medium-sized businesses should especially take note, since their growth often suffers the most from crime. According to the Journal of Tourism Economics, there is a negative correlation between increased crime and the rate of small business growth. With cybercrime, the consequences are particularly pronounced as small businesses tend to be the most vulnerable to a catastrophic impact: 60% of small businesses go out of businesses within six months of suffering a data breach or cyber-attack. Fortunately, businesses have an ace up their sleeves: their employees.
Employees: A business’ ace up its sleeve
Indeed a business’ employees are both the most valuable and most challenging aspect of its cybersecurity. On the one hand, strong business security starts with the employees. A company with a strong physical and cyber security plan in place and security-aware employees is less likely to suffer financial losses as a result of a break in or a cyber-attack. Employees that are trained and regularly updated about underlying security measures and protocols are a business’ most effective tool for improving and maintaining processes and protections. They are, in effect, the first line of defense.
On the other hand, according to a recent report, malicious insiders are a leading cause of data breaches, with 25% of insider threats made up of credential thefts that lead to unauthorized access to applications and systems and 14% made up of malicious insiders who intentionally damage the business they’re working for from within. But here’s another fortunate fact: businesses can also protect themselves from insider threats.
To prevent insider threats, business owners should limit the number of users who have privileges and access to sensitive data as well as install an endpoint antivirus solution that protects all of their business devices. The solution should use a virus engine that has all the latest virus signatures and that is continuously updated whenever new viruses are discovered so that all known viruses can be detected and removed. It should also use heuristic-based and behavioral-based technologies so that unknown and emerging threats are also blocked. In addition, the antivirus solution should provide email protection against phishing attacks, an anti-ransomware shield to keep data from being encrypted and held for hostage, secure browsing to prevent attacks caused by malicious websites, and camera and microphone protection to prevent malicious actors from spying on employees and important business conversations.
Employees deserve protection too
Plus your employees deserve to be secure too, as they are the backbone of your business. To protect your employees, you must ensure their physical safety while they’re on business premises and you must keep their personal information safe from cyber-attacks. Businesses without an antivirus for a company in 2020 have none of the necessary security control measures available to them to defend themselves and their employees against cyber-attacks, while businesses that do have an antivirus solution are already effectively preventing breaches and deterring hackers from trying to gain access to their data.
Your greatest security asset
Sales, products, markets, supply chains, and customers are all critical to the success of your business. But so are your employees and your security. Your employees, the work they do, and the security they provide are the most essential contributors towards your business’ profits, resilience, growth and value. At the end of the day, your employees along with a powerful and comprehensive endpoint security solution are part of your business’ road map to growth.