Technology is rapidly advancing with the proliferation of smartphones and internet access. We can connect with others quickly and often, allowing businesses to easily expand their reach and customers to find new companies. 

However, this has also led to increased risks from hackers who find vulnerabilities and flaws in our devices that help attack the company’s networks. These can be a threat to sensitive data, as well as vital information such as trade secrets and proprietary information.

As cyber threats have become more prevalent, businesses must implement security measures to protect themselves. The government, commercial organizations and non-profits have turned to cybersecurity to improve their business practices. They are now taking advantage of the emerging skills needed in the workforce to protect our data and systems.

Nine occupations that are highly susceptible to cyberattacks

The following are occupations that benefit from employees with strong cybersecurity knowledge.

Banking and finance

The banking and finance sector plays a significant role in the economy and often handles vital information that needs protection. Financial institutions hold vast amounts of sensitive information such as account information, credit card histories, and other personal data. Banks also serve as custodians for billions of dollars in deposits, securities and investments. 

The financial sector is a significant target for cybercrime because it deals with so much valuable information daily. Criminals and hackers are aware of vulnerabilities and have grown sophisticated in hacking networks and stealing this information. They can use this information to commit fraud, a serious problem that affects millions of people and costs businesses billions.

Many banks have implemented robust cybersecurity programs to protect their systems and combat these threats. However, they must still recognize their employees’ need to excel in this area.

To help protect the nation’s financial infrastructure, financial institutions should hire individuals with substantial cybersecurity knowledge. Cybersecurity specialists understand the different ways to secure financial data and systems. They can analyze vulnerabilities, implement a plan for minimizing risks, and train other employees about good security practices.

Healthcare

The healthcare sector is a significant target for cybercriminals. While healthcare comprises a small fraction of the overall economy, this segment is responsible for processing a sizeable amount of our data.

Healthcare practitioners rely on critical information to provide outstanding patient care. They also store data used in insurance claims and billing. 

Medical professionals use this data for prescreening and screening, which helps monitor people for disease. These records can also provide an essential record of the patient’s medical history, which includes information on conditions, treatments and medications.

Hackers know about the lack of cybersecurity in healthcare and can exploit it to obtain sensitive data and personal information. Criminals can use this data for identity theft or fraud.

Healthcare providers must regularly share data with other facilities and patients to provide a better service. The data sharing includes exchanging secure digital records vulnerable to cyberattacks. 

Hospitals and other healthcare providers must ensure that their systems and networks are secure to protect patients’ information and avoid data breaches. They should hire individuals with the skills to best protect sensitive data, networks, and patient health records from hackers. 

Employers need people who understand HIPAA protocols and state laws regarding protected healthcare information and data sharing.

Government agencies

Governments worldwide possess massive amounts of information, which they use to make decisions that affect millions of people. This includes personal information, detailed information on citizens, and data about the economy. 

Government agencies are under intense pressure to protect sensitive information, as well as data that is critical to the operations of their agencies. This data comprises social security numbers, immigration status and tax records. 

Criminals and hackers know that the government is a large target for cybercrime, so they try to exploit weaknesses in government networks and steal information. To combat this threat, governments must ensure that they protect their systems from cybercrimes. They can implement a robust policy safeguarding critical data and similar measures to help them combat these threats.

This year, the President’s budget request includes around $10.9bn for cybersecurity-based programs, which shows the government’s increased interest in this issue. 

The government needs people who are familiar with cyber threats and understand how to design a cybersecurity system that meets the specific needs of that agency. They require individuals who can develop an effective program and encourage staff to implement these practices.

E-commerce

The e-commerce industry has experienced exponential growth over the past few years. Projections show that the e-commerce market will grow by 11.8% to $1,574.5bn in 2022. 

However, the pace of this increase comes with more risks and threats to online retailers. Hackers can infiltrate e-commerce sites and steal vital information that compromises the company’s network and reputation. 

Cybercriminals can also threaten customers who provide their personal information to businesses. They can also use the site to spread malware and viruses that wreak havoc on the computers of consumers and employees. This malice can result in stolen sensitive information or customers losing confidence in the business.

E-commerce companies need to hire people with a strong understanding of cybersecurity. 

Cybersecurity specialists are aware of these threats and implement solutions to protect websites. They can develop cybersecurity programs to protect customer data, identify vulnerabilities and minimize risks. 

Cybersecurity specialists may also train employees to stay safe online when using these sites. This knowledge will help protect online businesses and their customers from cybercrime while they process financial transactions online. E-commerce professionals must use their knowledge of networking, cyber threats and application development to protect these systems from attackers. 

Education and research

The education and research sector is a significant asset to the economy. Education is vital for students, professionals and scholars to understand the changing world. Education is also needed to help build the nation’s workforce and businesses and is critical for our economic growth and competitiveness. 

Educational institutions have access to vast amounts of sensitive information. These institutions have databases that contain data about research projects, lab tests and student progress. 

They also often operate computing systems on a massive scale and store valuable information on the cloud. This information can is available to students, teachers, staff, and other researchers worldwide through the internet.

With cyberattacks on the rise, these institutions must place cybersecurity high on their list of priorities. Cybercriminals are constantly seeking vulnerabilities and flaws that might give them access to sensitive information or the financial records of students or faculty members.

Education and research organizations must deal with new cyberattack threats and the growing sophistication of criminals who know how to use their knowledge for financial gain. Schools and universities should hire individuals with substantial cybersecurity knowledge to protect these systems. 

Cybersecurity specialists understand how to protect school and university systems. They can analyze vulnerabilities and implement a plan for minimizing risks. They can also train students on good security practices and help them adapt them to their work.

Manufacturing

The manufacturing industry is one of the most significant contributors to the economy, employing approximately 10% of the workforce. Manufacturing facilities collect, process and transmit vital data that is key to operations. 

Due to the prevalence of manufacturing in the economy, users store extensive information necessary to conduct business. This information comprises intellectual property, trade secrets and other sensitive data.

The manufacturing sector is constantly evolving with technological advancements, which have increased opportunities to use robotics and artificial intelligence (AI). However, these devices are also vulnerable to cyber threats. Cybercriminals can leverage their technical skills to introduce vulnerabilities into manufacturing systems, resulting in a breach or shutdown of the machines. 

Manufacturing companies must use advanced cybersecurity methods to protect their data while they conduct business. Businesses can benefit from having employees with knowledge of cybersecurity, as they can advise company leaders on the best ways to protect their systems and data. 

These experts know firewalls, encryption techniques, perimeter defenses, and more. They know how to implement systems that are accessible but also protected from outside threats.

Construction

Construction is a high-revenue-generating industry in the US, but it’s also one of the most vulnerable to cyberattacks. 

The construction industry handles massive amounts of information about customers, suppliers and operations. They also possess a great deal of information regarding building plans and designs, which is vital information for clients such as architects. Builders use this data to develop construction plans for major projects and bids for jobs.

Cybercriminals often target construction firms during the planning process. They may try to steal secret plans or use insider information to the company’s advantage.

Cybercriminals can use this data to gain access to projects, and they can directly attack these systems. They can victimize builders by vandalism or theft and introduce malware that allows intruders to steal real estate plans and proprietary information.

The construction industry must take steps to secure and protect its sensitive data. They can do this by hiring employees with a strong knowledge of cybersecurity who can help design and implement security programs for the firm. Construction companies should also train their employees on the importance of cybersecurity and how it affects their work.

Entertainment

Entertainment is booming in both the digital and physical sense. Just as music, movies and sports are more accessible than ever, cybercriminals are also increasingly targeting entertainment companies. 

Entertainment companies need to protect the intellectual property rights of their products. IP data includes rights holders, scripts, footage, and more. Companies can be liable for costly lawsuits and lose money if this information gets into the wrong hands. 

Piracy and counterfeiting also pose risks to entertainment companies. While they may seem like petty crimes, they can damage the industry. These practices cost the economy upwards of $29bn annually. 

Cybercriminals also target entertainment companies because of the value of their information. For example, streaming services such as Netflix and Spotify handle sensitive personal data such as credit card numbers and addresses. 

Businesses in the entertainment industry can benefit from cybersecurity specialists who can protect their systems and data. This approach is essential for companies that are in the film, music and sports industries, as they may be targets for illegal activity.

SMBs

Small and medium-sized businesses are the backbone of our economy. They employ millions of people and account for a large portion of American jobs. These companies are often more vulnerable to cyberattacks because they lack the resources to combat them.

These attacks can take several forms, from stealing credit card information to obtaining company data. The targeted business can lose customers and revenue and even face serious legal problems and financial risks.

Small business owners should adopt security measures similar to larger firms and take advantage of employees with cybersecurity expertise. They may not have the resources to implement robust cybersecurity defenses, but they benefit from employees with knowledge of these crimes and protection.

What employees should know to enhance cybersecurity

To stay protected, businesses of all types should keep up with the latest cybersecurity. Employees are a vital part of this effort because they are the ones who consume and create most of the data. 

Employees do not need to be cybersecurity experts to protect themselves and their employers. With basic knowledge, they can spot potential attacks on their system, such as phishing scams or malware infections. 

Employees should know the following, which is necessary for any business looking to stay protected and secure.

Programming

Computer programming is the foundation of many cybersecurity tools and techniques, but not everyone is well-versed in this language. Understanding the basics of software development with a master’s degree in cybersecurity is essential to secure a network.

Knowledge of computer programming will make an employee a more informed consumer when considering security solutions. Someone with a more robust understanding of the technology can decide which tools to adopt.

Cloud computing

Cloud computing is a natural progression for organizations looking to modernize their infrastructure and manage their information efficiently. It also gives companies more control over their data and allows them to comply with industry regulations. 

Ensure that employees understand how cloud computing affects cybersecurity to make informed decisions on its use in their role.

Malware

Malware is a virus found on most modern operating systems, such as Windows, macOS and iOS. Many different forms of malware exist, each posing specific threats to the end user.

Knowledge of the various types of malwares and their effects is paramount to protecting any device. Staff should learn what each type of malware can do and how they can create an effective cybersecurity solution.

Security software

Security software is the most critical tool for securing any computer. It gives businesses the ability to detect, prevent and recover from cyber-attacks. Several different software solutions are available, each with its advantages and disadvantages.

Some of the most common programs include antivirus, anti-spam, anti-malware and anti-phishing software. Employees must work to understand how these programs work so that they can make informed decisions on which ones to adopt in the workplace.

Password encryption

Password encryption is arguably the most critical facet of cybersecurity. Many employees use their regular passwords to log in, which makes them easy to access. 

Implementing a password encryption solution will require employees to use a different password for work, restricting access by criminals. Ensure that employees know how to use multi-factor authentication to secure their systems.

Phishing scams

Phishing scams are some of the most used methods to compromise a network. It is a simple social engineering tactic that takes advantage of the user’s trust in the company. Simply put, it tricks users into sharing their information with hackers by disguising itself as a legitimate email.

There are several different ways that users can spot and avoid phishing scams. Educate employees on how these attacks work so that they can identify them as soon as they see them.

Data backup

Data backup is critical to any organization. It allows the company to recover from a breach on an internal network. Many data breaches can lead to high financial losses and legal complications, so a continued commitment to backups is essential.

Ensure that employees know how to protect their data by backing it up regularly and sharing their current backup plans within the organization.

Final thoughts

The world is becoming increasingly dependent on technology in every aspect of life. Businesses today rely on digital tools to run their operations, placing them as a prime target for cyber-attacks, drastically affecting their operations and revenue. 

The cyber threat landscape has evolved over the last decade and shows no sign of slowing down. It is a complex system of attacks, vulnerabilities and responses to threats, and it takes an equally complex set of tools to manage. 

With these companies placed as a high-priority target, they must take the necessary action to protect themselves from hackers and other threats.

An understanding of cybersecurity can help employees protect their company from hackers. They will understand how their role interacts with the rest of the system and can make informed decisions on what works best.

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