The importance of cyber security awareness
Welcome to the first edition of Paylink Solutions’ monthly leadership blog. At the end of every month throughout 2023, one of our Senior Leadership Team will be sharing their specialist industry insight covering various topics such as product development, technology, cyber security, and the cost-of-living crisis.
Becky McClory, our Head of Information Security, topically kicks off this year’s series with a deep dive into the importance of cyber security awareness as Paylink Solutions celebrates its recent ISO 27001 audit certification.
ISO 27001 is the standard created by the ISO (International Organisation for Standardisation) which deals with Information Security Management. It’s a way of ensuring a company manages information security risks and data effectively.
Maintaining the audit demonstrates the dedication of Paylink Solutions to ensuring its systems protect information and data, whether this is online or offline. The successful pass was achieved with zero non-conformities, which highlights the work and dedication we put into ensuring we have a robust ISMS.
Understanding cyber threats with an Information Security expert
Cyber threats are continuously increasing, and cyber security awareness is vital in all environments from business, workforces, and home life, to ensure you are staying safe online. It’s important to educate individuals and organisations about the role they each play in improving cyber security and the steps they can take to become more secure in the digital world.
It’s been proven that, even with the most robust defence systems and security measures in place, organisations are still experiencing security breaches. Why is this?
Human error has been reported as the major contributing factor behind many data breaches. More than 80% of breaches involved the human element, including social engineering attacks, errors, and misuse of stolen credentials. Threat actors look to exploit this weakness to infiltrate an organisation’s network and systems.
This is where cybersecurity awareness comes in and is key to trying to defend the actions of cybercriminals.
The importance of supporting colleagues to understand dangers
It’s so crucial to educate and train employees about malicious methods adopted by cybercriminals. It’s important to help employees understand how they can become easy targets, how they can spot potential threats and how they can avoid falling victim to such threats.
Giving staff the right level of education and training gives them the knowledge and confidence to identify and report potential threats before they can cause any damage.
Cyber security awareness is only of use if its current and delivered promptly. It’s vital that cyber security awareness educates employees on the latest security threats but also gives them the context and meaning behind it all. This will enable them to fully understand the dangers of clicking on a malicious link or downloading an infected attachment and the importance of exercising caution when interacting online and disclosing sensitive information.
Robust and current security awareness training programmes benefit everyone, right through from the individual to a business, clients, and customers. A well-planned and executed security awareness training program helps to enhance an organisation’s security posture and tightens its processes, which in turn helps build a more resilient workforce and business. To achieve this education and training must have continuity across the whole of an organisation and its workforce to be effective and beneficial.
Here, Becky has outlined some points to stay safe online
- Educate yourself so you know what to look out for. Visit gov.uk/guidance and citizensadvice.org.uk/consumer/scams websites, which are regularly updated with the latest information
- In a business context, ensure you complete annual mandatory training and attend any security update meetings/presentations
- Never send money to anyone you don’t know personally and never buy anything you’re not entirely sure of. Take time to do your research.
- If you get a request for money from someone you know by text or over social media, call them by another number to check it really is them asking and not a hacker who has stolen their phone number or hacked their social media account.
- Look out for errors, poor format, or messages that don’t use your name. These can be obvious signs of a scam. But remember some scams are very sophisticated and can look very real.
- Never share personal or financial data including usernames, passwords, PINs, or ID numbers.
- Don’t open email attachments or follow links unless you are 100% sure they are safe. You can check whether a website is likely to be legitimate or fraudulent at getsafeonline.org
- Make sure your antivirus software is up-to-date and run a scan before opening anything you’re suspicious of. Remember to protect tablets and smartphones which are equally vulnerable to online scams and viruses.
- Always update software, apps and operating systems when prompted, or set them to update automatically.
- Think before you follow any link. If something seems too good to be true, it probably is.
If 2022 taught us anything, it’s that cyber criminals are relentless and continuously evolving. That’s why effective information and cyber security is now essential. Take the time to learn how to stay safe online as this protects you, your family, friends, and colleagues. If ever in doubt just remember, assume nothing, believe nobody and check everything!
About Paylink Solutions
Paylink Solutions is a multi-award-winning fintech provider that delivers digital affordability solutions across the financial services sector.
It delivers its Embark customer affordability platform to some of the UK’s leading banks, building societies, utility companies and other lenders. Embark provides a full picture of someone’s financial situation and allows agents to recommend an affordable solution based on their circumstances, with additional features including Open Banking, digital triage, arrangement proposals and auto requests for future affordability assessments.