A new report from The Bunker has highlighted that senior executives are still often the weakest link in the corporate cybersecurity chain and that cybercriminals target this vulnerability to commit serious data breaches.

The white paper, Are You the Weakest Link? How Senior Executives Can Avoid Breaking the Cybersecurity Chain, says that many senior executives ignore the threat from hackers and cybercriminals and often feel that security policies in their respective organizations do not apply to their unique position. However, in reality, their often privileged access to company information make their personal accounts extremely valuable to exploit and heightens the need for extra care. In addition to highlighting the common mistakes made by senior executives, the white paper lists the top security areas that should be prioritized to ensure cybersecurity resilience.

Phil Bindley, Managing Director, The Bunker says, “In tackling and mitigating the security threat, a critical issue is a failure to securely back up email data. Many businesses assume that a cloud-hosted service, such as Office 365, comes with automatic back-up and security provisions. Unfortunately, it does not. Unless stated and agreed, vendors do not guarantee complete system security or data backup as standard, so organizations need to be careful and have a full understanding of the SLAs in place. We advise people to replace the word ‘cloud’ with ‘someone else’s computer’, to get a better perspective of the risks that need to be mitigated when deploying a cloud-based service”.

The report notes that all employees, especially those at the top of the corporate ladder, need to realize that cybercriminals use social engineering, email phishing and malware to access personal accounts, and C-level staff especially need to avoid becoming the weakest link in the cybersecurity chain by adhering to regularly updated, company-wide security policies regarding data sharing and backup.

Bindley adds, “Cloud offers a highly secure and cost-effective platform to defend against threats and malicious attacks. However, data stored in a public cloud typically resides outside the protection of an organization’s internal systems and many vendors do not automatically back-up data or implement security and privacy controls as standard, making it a perfect entry-point for cybercriminals to exploit. Reviewing corporate policies, with a focus on people, premises, processes, systems and suppliers will provide valuable insights into which areas to improve, and by championing a ‘security first’ corporate culture, organizations and their senior executives will be well positioned to avoid the high financial costs, reputational damage and unexpected downtime that could result from a cyberattack or data breach."