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cyberattacks and data breaches
01 July 2024

Why Every Employee Needs To Know About Information Security

Information security has become a critical concern for businesses of all sizes and in all industries. Cyber threats are evolving rapidly, and the consequences of a security breach can be devastating. While companies invest heavily in technology to protect their data, the human element remains a significant vulnerability. This is why every employee, regardless of their role, needs to be aware of and understand information security.

The Rising Threat Landscape

Cybersecurity threats and stealing hard copy information are becoming more sophisticated and prevalent. Hackers and information thieves are no longer just targeting large corporations; small and medium-sized businesses are also at risk. The types of threats include:

Stealing Mail

Thieves steal mail to get your information.

Dumpster Diving

Unscrupulous people go through garbage looking for information that was thrown away that they can use for illegal purposes.

Phishing Attacks

Deceptive emails and messages can lead to data breaches when employees unknowingly disclose sensitive information, as highlighted in the phishing report on


Malicious software that locks access to data until a ransom is paid.

Insider Threats

Employees or former employees who intentionally or unintentionally compromise security.

Social Engineering

Manipulating people into breaking normal security procedures.

Given this diverse range of threats, it is crucial for every employee to be vigilant and knowledgeable about potential risks.

The Importance Of Employee Awareness

First Line Of Defense:

Employees are often the first line of defense against cyber attacks. By recognizing suspicious activities and knowing how to respond, they can prevent potential breaches. Simple actions, like not clicking on suspicious links or reporting unusual activities, can make a significant difference.

Employees dispose of documents regularly. They need to know that all papers must be disposed of securely.

Reducing Human Error

Many security incidents occur due to human error. Employees who are educated about information security are less likely to make mistakes that could lead to data breaches. For example, they are more likely to use strong passwords, avoid sharing confidential information, follow company security protocols, and deposit all documents in a secure container so they can be shredded.

Protecting Company Assets

Information is one of the most valuable assets of any organization. Protecting this information is not just the responsibility of the IT department and management but of every employee. Understanding the importance of data security helps employees take proactive steps to safeguard company assets.

Compliance And Legal Obligations

Every industry has specific regulations and standards regarding data protection. Non-compliance can result in hefty fines and legal consequences. When employees are aware of these regulations, they are more likely to adhere to them, ensuring the company remains compliant.

Building A Security Culture

A culture of security within an organization can only be achieved when every employee understands the importance of information security. This culture encourages everyone to take responsibility for security, leading to more robust and comprehensive protection measures.

Practical Steps For Employee Education

Regular Training

Conduct regular training sessions on the latest security threats and best practices. This can include workshops, webinars, and e-learning modules. Also, after training, employees should sign an acknowledgment of training.

Clear Policies and Procedures

Develop and communicate clear information security policies and procedures. Ensure that all employees understand their roles and responsibilities in maintaining security.

Simulated Attacks

Use simulated phishing attacks, inspection of wastebasket, and other exercises to test employees’ readiness and reinforce training. These simulations help employees recognize real threats and respond appropriately.

Open Communication

Encourage open communication about security concerns. Employees should feel comfortable reporting suspicious activities or potential vulnerabilities without fear of reprisal.

Continuous Improvement

Information security is an ongoing process. Training materials and policies should be continuously updated to reflect the latest threats and best practices.

In Review

Technology and procedures alone are not enough to combat cyber threats and hard copy theft. Employees play a crucial role in maintaining an organization’s security. By educating and empowering every employee with knowledge about information security, businesses can significantly reduce their risk of data breaches and other security incidents. In today’s interconnected world, a well-informed and vigilant workforce is one of the most effective defenses against information threats.



Jim Dowse, CSDS

Jim Dowse is the COO of Time Shred Services. Jim has over 35 years’ experience in the document management and document shredding industry and runs Time Shred Services with a staff of the most accomplished professionals in the document destruction industry. Under Jim’s leadership Time Shred has grown to be the largest locally owned Document Shredding company in the New York City area. Since we are a local business, we have a vested interest in providing the residents and businesses in our community with the best shredding service possible. Jim recognized that there was a need for a better and more convenient document shredding service that provided customers with shredding services when they needed it Monday through Saturday and Time Shred was born. Jim is also a CSDS, Certified Secure Destruction Specialist. This is the highest individual certification for an individual in the document shredding industry. This Author Biography is courtesy of i-Sigma