A graphic illustration of a row of digital locks. One of them is unlocked probable due to data security mistakes.

Watching out for any data security mistakes that your employees might make will save your company any unnecessary trouble.

While employees often do things such as open email attachments that they shouldn’t, fail to update software and apps, or visit websites that have been compromised, these aren’t the only ways someone can get to your data through your staff. Let’s look at a few more serious data security mistakes your employees should be trained to avoid.

Common Data Security Mistakes

  • Password problems – Start with the concept of using passwords that are not secure. Not only should things like 12345 be avoided—and your IT team should make sure passwords like that can’t be used—but “personal-type” passwords should also be avoided. For example, it’s not a huge reach for a hacker to learn personal info about an employee, and then try the person’s birthdate or anniversary as a password. Besides these things, employees should be instructed to effectively protect passwords by never sharing them, even with another employee. Having a list of passwords on a mobile device, or even on a piece of paper under the keyboard, are also terrible ideas.
  • Cloud computing – First of all, there’s nothing wrong or not secure about using cloud computing for The problem begins when employees feel they can share private company information through cloud file-sharing services that are not designed for business, and are thus less secure.
  • Losing data/devices – Any time that data is removed from the office on a device like a laptop or a phone or even on something like a thumb drive, loss becomes an issue. Something as simple as leaving a smartphone at a restaurant can lead to theft. And once a thief finds private corporate information on the device, what is to stop him from trying to increase his payday by selling the information before selling the device?

It all comes back to proper training. Your employees need to know how to create strong passwords and manage them properly. They need to understand the difference between a secure way to send a file and a way that is inviting trouble. And they need to understand the importance of protecting devices with sensitive information on them, especially if such devices are taken out of the building.