The Impact of Staff: Cyber Security and Small Business Recruitment

22nd June 2016
Cyber Crime

With household names Twitter and LinkedIn both suffering data breaches only recently, cyber security is making headlines more frequently than ever. One shocking statistic taken from PwC is that 31% of small businesses suffered a breach because of staff related activity - inadvertent staff error ranks highly when it comes to instances of cyber crime.

For small businesses additionally, the cost of recovering from a cyber breach starts at a colossal £75,000 (as taken from the same PwC survey). This, along with the potential reputational damage can mean small companies are extremely vulnerable if attacked and may even go out of business.

And with a significant proportion of this risk lying with staff, small business recruitment practices and staff make up could be affected by this issue. It’s crept up on businesses and the economy, and it’s becoming more of a threat every day.

Know Your Risks

It’s not pleasant to think about but disgruntled staff might hand over sensitive data if they feel unfairly treated by their employer – it does happen. Alternatively, something so seemingly innocuous like a misplaced USB stick or an obvious password can put your company back several months if it allows hackers or viruses into your systems. Knowing the sort of data your staff might need to carry around in this instance can help your case immensely in knowing how to protect it.


Training on passwords – what to use for them, what not to use, when to change them, network security and device security are vital. Under the new GDPR regulations some companies will be required to have a data protection officer and at a minimum, employees will need to be educated by their employer as to data protection law. This may effect small business recruitment practices directly, however cyber awareness is a good habit to get into – given the impending legislation. Additionally, with the growth in flexible and mobile working, training is becoming more important than ever.

Employee Defence

One article we read raised a great point – employees are your first line of defence. They are also perceived as the weakest link for hackers and so fostering a strong environment of sharing and well-being in your office (as is hot news at the moment!) can work against hackers in this instance.

Tech-savvy employees can help those less so, and open lines of communication within the office environment can all indirectly work to protect your small business from hackers.

Small Business Recruitment

In summary the risk of cyber-attack is increasing, and staff management, decisions and well-being can all pose potential vulnerabilities, or be fostered into strengths against an ever more sophisticated arson of hackers and cyber criminals.

"employees are your first line of defence. They are also perceived as the weakest link for hackers"