Understanding Ransomware: Helping Employees Operate Government Agencies Securely

We have all heard about recent ransomware attacks on businesses across the country. We now know that the repercussions can be significant. Municipalities, Counties, and Special Districts are not immune, and the work done by employees is critical to our infrastructure. While you may wish to leave this to the technical services department or the vendor you use, this needs to be something every employee in the organization understands. Setting a strong security foundation is vital, and this article lists the basics of that foundation.

Employees are the lynchpin in any good system. Involving them in every step is beneficial. Understanding what data you have and where it lives is often the first step, and employees collectively know this so much more than any manager. Do employees use technology the way you think they do? Probably not. New employees are learning how to collect, use, and store information and are most likely to have a detailed mindset about it. Long-term employees will recall where the data was stored originally. Talking to both groups may ensure that you have the broadest information about where data is located.

Making sure you involve employees when asking about how technology is used and implementing rules to ensure compliance is crucial. Because some employees access work emails from home, helping to enhance their internet security at home is also wise. In this case, the employee’s interest in their home security may align with the employer’s interest in that same security. Consider offering tools to employees at home and at work, like stable and secure password-generating software.

The training in your workplace you may need the most is the easiest to overlook. Data security requires constant attention and vigilance, and thus more – rather than less – training. The most effective training might be more often but in short spurts. Some companies offer training that allows employees to fall for ransomware ploys. That adrenaline rush can help cement the training in anyone’s mind. It may also involve sharing cyber-hacking emails with all employees so they know what to watch out for.

Securing operations is becoming more and more important, and employees are a necessary part of this focus. Working to understand the importance of data security and how employees are a part of that is a step forward. Call Employers Council with questions; we can help.