Human Capital & Careers

Training Employees to Fight Hackers

By now, finance executives know that cyber-thieves are constantly looking for ways to climb over, or burrow under, their firewalls. What they may not realize, however, is that the gate is frequently left unlatched—by their own employees.

They’re doing so inadvertently. It’s not as if most employees are secret cyber-hackers, waiting for the day (their last one, retroactively) when they can set loose an email worm capable of compromising the company’s proprietary data. In a recent survey about data security, in fact, the majority of finance executives, 56%, confirm that they view current or former employees as little or no threat. By comparison, 67% of respondents consider hackers or cyber-criminals to be a moderate or severe threat.

Security Guard

Survey-takers assessed several different aspects of their companies’ awareness—and preparedness—in terms of successfully guarding against cyber-intruders. In their answers to questions, finance executives offered evaluations of their companies’ technological tools and skills when it comes to repelling hackers as well as how much of a priority it is for the management team and for employees. Most respondents say they believe that their company’s technology is up to the task of deterring hackers. More than three-quarters of respondents agree that their company has deployed the appropriate technology for effectively managing cybersecurity.

Working Knowledge

Our company has the technical expertise required to manage cybersecurity effectively. 24% 55% 12% 5% 5% Agree strongly Agree somewhat Disagree somewhat Disagree strongly Don’t know systems, hackers can now target employees with emails that are close to dead ringers for those sent by colleagues or business partners—the phenomenon known as “phishing.” At Temkin International, a manufacturer of plastic packaging products, an email from a vendor included instructions for wiring payment to them. “We wired the money,” says Controller Dalan Andersen, “and we’re still trying to figure out what happened. That’s a fishy one.” In any case, it’s become clear that the vendor had nothing to do with it.