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Contingent Workers, Cybersecurity, and You

Tammy Cohen, PHR, SHRM-CP

April 20 2020

In today’s modern age, cybersecurity should be top of mind for any company. No business is ‘safe’ in the online world. In a 2018 survey, 67% of respondents—all small and mid-sized business owners—said they experienced some form of a cyberattack that year. Larger companies can repel multiple attempted attacks in a single day. This is made complicated by the current shift towards a contingent workforce. Experts estimate that by the end of 2020, contingent workers will make up 40% of the workforce. 

In a report by Identity Automation, they argue the greatest threat to business’s cybersecurity isn’t outside attacks. It’s far more likely that your internal systems will be brought down by someone within your company. This threat is increased among your contract workers because they often don’t have access to company training or security protocols. Unfortunately, contingent workers often aren’t screened as thoroughly as permanent members of your company, exacerbating the risk of an attack from within.  

The same risks inherent in a full-time employee are elevated in the case of a contingent or contract worker, due to higher churn and minimal cybersecurity training. Here are three tips on how to reduce risks to your business’s cybersecurity when hiring contract workers.

1. Security from Day One

Begin security training for every employee on the first day, no matter if they’re temporary, part-time, full-time, or contract workers. Everyone—from your interns to your contingent workers—should know and follow your company’s cybersecurity protocols. This training can be as cursory or as in-depth as necessary but remember that it needs to warn employees against common security threats. 

An employee clicking on the wrong link or falling for a phishing attempt can be just as devastating to a business’s cybersecurity as a malicious insider. Cyberattacks can cost your company thousands in damaged data, extra expenses, and loss of income. The first and most effective security measures you can take are preventative. By educating your entire staff about potential security risks, you minimize your company’s chances of falling prey to a threat. 

2. Centralize and Restrict Access Controls

Insider threats often rely on ease of access. Be sure to give your contingent workers access to all the tools they need to get the job done and nothing more. Ensure that your business’s essential systems are protected, and that the administrators of these systems follow company security protocol. This ensures your contract workers can perform at the level you need them to without opening your business up to unnecessary risk. 

To protect your business from potential internal threats, it’s imperative to restrict employee access to vital systems. Consider who needs access to what in order to efficiently do their jobs. Not every employee’s job requires access to customer information, internal cybersecurity measures, and financial information. Restrict privileges to only carefully vetted key personnel. By keeping access to your company’s essential systems restricted, you’ll be able to ward off most would-be malicious intruders. 

3. Carefully Vetting Workers
     Protects Businesses

Security measures mean nothing if you can’t trust who you’re hiring. Your company will need an IT expert to manage many of your security systems, and you’ll need to know with certainty they have the skills and experience to get the job done. When it comes to your business’s security, you need to know exactly who you’re working with. Your full-time employees are responsible for your company’s ongoing security, and therefore must undergo a thorough vetting process. 

Many companies seem to believe that contingent workers don’t require the same depth of screening. On the contrary, contingent workers require just as much, if not more, scrutiny than potential full-time employees. Independent contractors are brought in due to their specific skillset and experience; therefore, it’s important to verify that they have the experience they claim to. A thorough background check on all contract workers not only ensures you’re getting what you’re paying for, but also could potentially reveal past misconduct. 

Protecting your business from cyberattacks and online threats can seem like an uphill battle. Every day you hear about some new virus or ransomware with the potential to lock down entire companies. Contingent workers pose a unique risk due to their high turnover. By carefully vetting all your employees, informing them of common threats to cybersecurity, and restricting access to key systems, you can prevent your company from falling prey to a cyberattack. 

Ready to take a hard look at your background screening program? InfoMart has the experience and technology you need.

About Tammy Cohen

Tammy Cohen, an industry pioneer and expert in identity and employment screening, founded InfoMart 30 years ago. Deemed the “Queen of Screen,” she’s been a force behind industry-leading innovations. She was most recently the first-to-market with a fully compliant sanctions search, as well as a suite of identity services that modernizes talent onboarding. Tammy revolutionized the screening industry when she stepped into the field, developing the first client-facing application and a due diligence criminal search that has since become standard for all background screening companies. Cohen has received national awards and honors for her business and civic involvement, including Atlanta Business Chronicle’s Top 25 Women-Owned Firms in Atlanta, Enterprising Women Magazine’s Enterprising Women of the Year award, the YWCA of Northwest Georgia’s Kathryn Woods Racial Justice Award, and a commendation in the 152nd Congressional Record. To learn more about Tammy, visit www.tammycohen.com.

About InfoMart

InfoMart has been revolutionizing the global background and identity screening industry for 30 years, providing businesses the information they need to make informed hiring decisions. They develop innovative technology that modernizes talent onboarding, including a first-to-market biometric identity authentication application and a verified sanctions search. The WBENC-certified company is a founding member of the Professional Background Screening Association, and they have achieved PBSA accreditation in recognition of their consistent business practices and commitment to compliance with the FCRA. The company is dedicated to customer service, speed, and accuracy, and it has been recognized for its success, workplace culture, and corporate citizenship with over 45 industry awards. To Get the Whole Story on InfoMart, please visit www.InfoMart-USA.com, follow @InfoMartUSA, or call (770) 984-2727.

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