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Executives lead their team by example, and when they don’t follow the rules they’ve set in place for the company, they prove themselves to be willfully hypocritical to their staff. It’s challenging to respect an authority figure in the workplace when they do not respect the rules of the company. It’s an attitude of “if my boss doesn’t do it, why should I?”

If you’re one of the top executives at the company and you ignore company cyber policies, (you check your personal email, update your social media feed, watch torrent videos, shop, etc.) your staff has definitely noticed, and guess what? They’re following by example.

Clicking Links, Pointing Fingers

Did you know the No. 1 cause of cyber data breaches in the U.S. is employee negligence? Forbes Magazine found that 77 percent of businesses reported a data breach in the last year. To add oil to the fire, it was learned that many company data breaches happened because of poor cyber safety practices within the business itself. Who is to blame for the cyber breach? While you’re no doubt telling your screen “it’s the hacker!” maybe start by asking yourself how safe your network practices are.

There’s a reason why Target CIO Beth Jacob resigned after the public learned about the retail company’s security breach that resulted in 40 million customers having their private data stolen by cybercriminals. What was the reason? It’s simple: because Jacob did not make cybersecurity of the company a top priority.

When you start a business, you’re going to be anxious about making a profit (why wouldn’t you be?) and that is going to take precedence over any other concern. Considering most small businesses don’t make it beyond their first 18 months, it’s no wonder you don’t want to add your business to those sad numbers. So, as a result, you ignore other areas of the business, including its cybersecurity.

You let your employees bring in and use their own smart devices and connect to the company’s network without fear of repercussion and you often skip the network security update, promising yourself that you’ll get to it the following day, but it never happens. These are little things we all do every day, but these seemingly small practices lead to giant consequences.

Unsecure mobile devices are the second leading cause of cyber breaches. When an employee connects to your network, they are also connecting all of their apps, passwords and, for lack of a better term, electronic sludge to your network. They may have a malware infected device and not even know it, and guess what? They’ve now infected your network too and have offered it up to a lurking cybercriminal on a silver platter.

Don’t Let It Become a Problem

Reports surfaced that the cause of the massive Target data breach were network credentials lifted from a third-party vendor the Target company worked with frequently. So here is what happened: a cybercriminal was able to break into the network of the third-party vendor and gain access to Target’s data all because Target and the subcontractor they collaborated with had shared information with each other.

Do you let others use your devices? Do you willingly give out passcodes to let your employees connect to services? Do you know if they also let others use their devices? How do you know they’re not bringing a shared family laptop with them to work every day?

Cybersecurity starts with rules that everyone must follow. While cyber liability insurance coverage covers the financial damage of a data breach, it doesn’t stop it from happening; only you can do that. Protect your network and your company’s reputation, practice cyber safety.

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