If you look at your team as a whole, how would you say they think about cybercrime?
Hopefully you’ve taken the time to get them educated; maybe we’ve even stopped in and done some of that training.
But do you think all members of your team understand the threats equally well, and take those threats as seriously as you should?
Most managers and business owners would say a quick “no” here— and we agree. But maybe not for the reasons you’d think.
Conventional wisdom says your older employees might not get this cybersecurity stuff as easily, and since they aren’t digital natives, they may be more likely to fall for a scam. On the flip side, your younger employees live and breathe tech, so they’re going to be pretty safe. Right?
That’s not what the latest studies are showing.
Younger People Too Carefree About Cybersecurity
A recent study discovered that among people 16 to 19 years old, attitudes about cybersecurity are pretty lax. It shows up in several ways, but the one that’s most likely to threaten your business is software piracy.
One in 3 in this age range openly admit to digital piracy. That usually looks like illegally downloading software, movies, music, or apps. These things aren’t supposed to be free, and the places you can illegally download them for free aren’t the most reputable internet locations.
What’s the problem with that? Well, besides the ethical and legal concerns, these seedy internet joints don’t tend to be run by entirely upstanding groups, and they’re prime real estate for cybercriminals.
Your employee may think they’re downloading “clean” software — and maybe even business software that can legitimately help them do better work — but instead be downloading malware or ransomware along with it.
Any time a software package is allowed to install itself on a computer, the user of that computer is trusting that the application is what it claims to be and that no one has tampered with it.
But when you download illegal software from somewhere that’s already doing illegal things, you really can’t have that kind of trust.
How Old Is Your Workforce?
Back to that study for a minute: We did say 16 to 19-year-olds. True, you probably don’t employ a ton of people in this age range. But you probably do employ some just a bit older. It’s easy to think that this group has an almost magical level of tech knowledge, when in reality they’re a lot closer to their younger counterparts than we’d like to think.
Even if they have a better working knowledge of tech, devices, and software, your younger workforce may not entirely understand the nature of business — or the importance of security.
Solutions to These Issues
So what can you do about these kinds of problems? We see two solid solutions.
1. Better Cybersecurity Awareness Training — for Everyone
First, when you conduct cybersecurity awareness training (we said when, not if, by the way— if you need help here, please give us a call), make it mandatory, and stress that it’s for everyone. It’s easy to push this kind of training on older workers but give younger folks a free pass. Hopefully this post serves as a warning of why that’s a mistake.
Make sure this training includes an explanation on the dangers of pirated software, too.
2. Endpoint Management
The second solution is more technical, but even more important: endpoint management is a system for controlling what users can and can’t install on their work-issued devices. Used properly, it will prevent your employees from installing any pirated software in the first place.
Setting up endpoint management is a little bit technical. We don’t recommend doing it on your own, but we’ve done it for dozens of clients and would love to help you, too.