In a world where everything is much easier to do via mobile, app, or device, technology is not going to slow down. We’re all guilty of potentially owning more than one device, whether that is our personal phones, work phones, tablets or fitness trackers.

All these devices are connected to the internet to make our lives much more convenient. More so when it comes to the workplace, where employees can have access to their work email on their phones and be connected continuously to make their job run smoother. 

As convenient as this is, connected devices are also making you vulnerable to the world of cyber threats.

Some studies have predicted that there will be over 30 billion connected devices by next year, 2020, with this number doubling by 2025. As this number rises, so will the challenges around cybersecurity and protecting ourselves, businesses, and technology. 

As the demand for modern devices rises, the necessity of having cybersecurity and being aware of the risk involved with hyperconnectivity also increases, but the security industry doesn’t fall behind. There are many excellent options for both corporate and private needs. You can undertake security awareness training to empower yourself and others; this way, everyone will have the capacity to make informed decisions when needed

Here are three ways employees contribute to the cybersecurity growth, and what to do to stay vigilant and reduce risks. 

1. Personal devices

Many workplaces are introducing what is known as BYOD, which means bring your own device into work. In theory, it is a great idea. It encourages remote working, and it means that companies don’t have to foot the bill for expensive laptops and computers for employees. 

Staff can also use their own tablets and smartphones for work purposes too. However, it has a flip side. There are no ways of knowing if an employee’s personal devices are 100% safe and free from risk when they connect them to the work server. 

Personal smartphones and devices can be a huge threat when it comes to a company’s security. If a hacker breaks into an employee’s mobile, which is common as people tend not to protect their devices the way industry protects its business devices, they can then gain a pathway into accessing private company files.

2. Lack of training and education

If every company were aware of how damaging a potential hacker or virus could be, they would all smarten up preparation for it. There are many companies all around the world who are not taking full advantage of the steps they can take to prevent any malicious activity happening. 

One way of looking at it is the increase in cybersecurity jobs that have been created. There has become a demand for specialists who understand cybersecurity, threats, and hackers, that can effectively put measures in place to prevent such happenings and attempt to recover the damage. You can now study a dedicated online masters cybersecurity qualification specifically for this, which gives you the skills to be equipped for this specialist role. 

All devices need to carry some form of protection and security, but the way these attacks come into the business can sometimes be caused by human error. 

Emails, for example, can contain phishing, where some individuals can click on links they shouldn’t be clicking on which lets an attack take place. This is where thorough training and education is needed across all staff (especially those bringing in their own devices) so that everyone fully understands the processes. 

It’s promising that companies are starting to become innovative and integrate smart devices and become fully connected in a big to strengthen the way they work. However, it is everyone’s responsibility to be aware of the rise in risks, and it is vital that formal training is continually carried out.

3. The increase in data

Just like it is every employee’s responsibility to understand that the increase of connected devices poses serious threats, it’s vital that all staff are aware of the increasing amount of data that can be captured. 

When you think about the combination of devices all connected under one business, that’s a crazy amount of data. From a business’s point of view, it’s easy to see how much risk is involved when everyone’s devices are all connected. From Whatsapp messages to email marketing campaigns and social media, devices can generate an incredibly high amount of data points daily. 

For companies that have thousands of employees, there is data on a vast scale floating around every day. The more data available, the easier it is for hackers to try and find somewhere to enter. This makes protecting data on a wide scale more crucial than ever before. 

Remember that there is no slowing down when it comes to the internet. It will continue to grow, which will continuously affect cybersecurity in the future. The only way to prevent further problems is awareness, preparation, and actions, and it’s vital that entire workplaces are aware of this.