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The Top Cyber Security Threats Recruitment Agencies Face, And How to Deal with Them

Like all businesses, recruitment agencies face a range of cyber security challenges, but some of them are more particular to their situation and way of working. Hybrid working is particularly popular among recruiters, and many recruitment agencies do not have the measures in place to ensure that remote working is conducted securely and safely.

This blog post explores the most pressing cyber threats facing recruitment agencies and outlines how a comprehensive strategy, including six key steps, can help to bolster your agency’s cyber security posture.


The Cyber Threats Facing Recruitment Companies

Cyber threats are widespread across many different industries and businesses, but in recruitment, there are a few key ones we’d like to draw your attention to:

1)      Hybrid Working Risks

In a nutshell, the shift towards hybrid working has blurred the lines between personal and professional IT environments. Now, it is more likely that personal devices and less secure home routers are being used to access your tools and sensitive data. Cyber criminals will use these vulnerabilities as entry points to gather personal data for fraudulent purposes, or to use ransomware to lock down systems and extract payments from agencies for example.

Alongside using personal devices for work purposes, work devices that are not configured according to a cyber secure IT policy can also create vulnerabilities; users may visit unsecured websites, download untrusted apps, or have no restrictions on where they are moving company data for instance.

2)      Phishing Attacks

Most cyber-attacks occur because of user errors, and phishing attacks are a popular method that focuses on exploiting people to gain unauthorised access to your data and network. The people behind the technology in any company are often the weakest cyber link, but can also be the greatest cyber security asset too.

Phishing attacks are not just the domain of emails with dodgy addresses and grammatically dubious content, they can be highly sophisticated and convincing. A key way to prevent this popular cause of cyber breaches, is training your users to recognise these threats and implementing email protection tools to keep phishing emails away from your team’s inboxes.

3)      Data Breaches

Data breaches occur when an unauthorised party gains access to your company’s data. They may view it, manipulate it, or steal it. With data being a kind of currency in today’s age, cyber criminals will try to use it for private gain.

Data breaches can occur partly because of oversights that can be corrected quite easily, such as poorly managed and overly simple passwords, and poorly defined access controls across your software, including your ATS. Without cyber measures in place, you will have less layers of security for your data and systems, which leads to a greater amount of risk exposure.

4)      Malware Risks

Malware, which is short for malicious software, is also a widespread threat to recruitment agencies. A notable type of malware to be aware of is ransomware, which encrypts devices and data to prevent access, until a ransom is paid in return for restored access.

A recruitment agency should take care to secure its devices and network from malware. A key and simple way to do this is to use antivirus software. Not only will they help to keep work devices secure, but many of them also include internet security tools that can help your team to avoid threats on the web.


Bolstering Your Recruitment Agency’s Cyber Security Requires a Holistic Approach

Addressing these threats requires more than just piecemeal solutions; it calls for an encompassing approach to your cyber security.

To protect candidate and client data, remain compliant with data protection regulations like GDPR, and ensure continuity and secure your reputation, you can take the following steps.


1. Cyber Essentials Certification

Achieving Cyber Essentials certification is a foundational step. This accessible UK government-backed scheme guides businesses in applying fundamental cyber security measures and serves as a valuable form of social proof. It’s both fundamental and holistic, as attaining certification will require implementing the scheme’s five key controls:

  • Boundary firewalls and internet gateways
  • Secure configuration
  • Access controls
  • Malware protection
  • Patch management

If you would like support with seamlessly getting certified, get in touch with our team. We are accredited under the Cyber Essentials Plus scheme and have helped hundreds of organisations to successfully get certified and secure.

2. Strengthening Remote Working Security

With hybrid working models set to stay, many agencies will need to secure their remote working environments. This includes ensuring secure VPN access, using reliable anti-virus software, and implementing robust firewalls. You may also want to use a device management solution to keep devices updated consistently and to keep their usage in alignment with your IT policy and cyber security best practices.

3. Enhancing Email Security

To counter the risks posed by phishing attacks, your recruitment agency can invest in advanced email filtering tools. These systems will be able to identify and quarantine phishing attempts before they can reach your users’ inboxes. User awareness training can also empower your people to identify and deal with sophisticated phishing attacks.

4. Implementing Strict Access Controls

Access controls are vital for limiting the potential exposure of your sensitive data. Agencies should adopt a ‘least privilege’ policy, where employees have access only to the data that will be needed for their role. Regularly reviewing and updating these permissions and user accounts will help to prevent unauthorized access, both intentional or accidental.

5. Regular Data Backups and Recovery Planning

A cyber attack can cause permanent loss of data for your business which can lead to big costs on time, money, as well as your agency’s reputation and relationships. For this reason, having data backups in place that can be recovered swiftly is an essential aspect in cyber security. Take care to use a data backup solution using software or a third party provider to assure your business continuity and resilience to cyber incidents.

6. Employee Training and Cybersecurity Culture

Lastly, fostering a culture of cyber security awareness across the organisation is key. By creating a cyber secure culture empowered with the right tools, your people will be able to understand the importance of cyber security best practices and apply them. This can include the safe usage of devices, phishing training, and education on how to report security incidents promptly.

The Benefits of Investing into Cyber Security for Recruitment Agencies

By aligning your people, policies and technology together, you can take a holistic approach to your cyber security that keeps your recruitment agency safe from today’s cyber threats. These measures do not have to compromise productivity and convenience; they can empower them by reducing risks and lost time.

There are many commercial benefits to investing in cyber security, which is an increasingly essential expectation today. These include more competitiveness for bidding, a secured trust and reputation among stakeholders, lower cyber insurance premiums, and the ability to scale your business without being taken off track by cyber incidents and compliance concerns.

We hope this has helped you to gain actionable insights that you can use to secure your recruitment agency. If you would like support with your cyber security and IT management more broadly, you can contact the Virtual IT team for help with tapping into exceptionally functional and secure technology for your agency.


Virtual IT: Trusted Cyber-Security First Technology Partners

Based in London, Virtual IT are a trusted IT partner to over 700 businesses and schools across the UK with a leading Cyber-Security First approach. We provide a fully managed IT solution focusing on proactivity, strategy and security. We help our clients to tap into the wealth of advantages that secure technology can offer to them. See how in our case studies.

Want to see the difference Virtual IT can make for your business? Book a meeting with us today, we’ll be glad to support you with any tech challenge that you’re facing.