How to Educate Your Employees About Cybersecurity

The age of the novel coronavirus has seen a dramatic increase in successful cyberattack incidents. Individuals, business entities, and organizations like the WHO have equally noted a spike in threats targeting their data and networks. More hacks and breaches make the news, and the victims range from SMEs to investment management giants. As the threat continues to prevail, you must begin determining and fixing your vulnerable areas to keep your company entirely safe.

With remote work taking over the current business environment and companies struggling to comply with the set safety guidelines, it may not be easy to fix every loophole. However, making your personnel aware of cybersecurity threats could save your company – big time.

You cannot bear this burden alone, or with a few IT specialists in your team. As such, you must include all employees in maintaining regular awareness and training to protect the business from threats during these harsh COVID-19 times. Remote workers, mainly, should be aware of almost every cybersecurity aspect to defend themselves and their company data.

How to Train Your Employees on Cybersecurity

The argument for staff cybersecurity training is simple: informed employees can recognize security threats, and design the right approaches to evade, report, or eradicate it.

Here are the crucial employee training best practices to keep them prepared for any cybersecurity threat:

Don’t Blame Them

After a massive data breach, most executives place the fault on a helpless employee who simply clicked on the incorrect link. Yes, they fell for the trap, but blaming them for lacking the awareness at that moment would be avoiding your responsibility. The organization must ensure your teams have the right knowledge at the right time to secure the company data and network.

Sometimes, it could also be a false alarm. In such a case, do not discourage them. Instead, educate the employee on the right identification approaches and offering quick solutions whenever a real threat arises.

Inform Them of the Potential Impact of Cyber Incidents

Highlight the spiralling consequences that may arise from the company’s daily activities and bad habits – from fines and other financial losses to a damaged reputation. For instance, describe what could happen if they forgot their laptop in public transport, used an open WIFI to access company data, or used a work device to check personal emails.

They should also be aware of the dangers of revealing their private details on social media platforms that could serve as work passwords. This may include significant dates or names of their children.

You’ll notice that most of your staff may not realize the risk of undermining your company through their daily habits.

Make It Everyone’s Obligation

No one in the organization is immune to cybersecurity threats. Therefore, the education program should comprise employees at every level, including management. Staff holding senior positions can access more data, which makes them the best targets for malicious individuals.

The IT department, on the other hand, holds a higher authority over your business data and network. This means they are also vulnerable to determined hackers, so avoid any instance of complacency. Warn all teams that the company data and systems are as secure as their weakest links.

Avoid FUD Education

Most conventional education policies rely on creating fear, uncertainties, and doubt (FUD). However, these have proven to be less effective than a culture that relies on positive reinforcements. For instance, punishing a worker who has failed to comply with the outlined security policy is not advisable as it may limit their productivity.

Instead, it would help if you encourage them to embrace the cybersecurity procedures in place. Such a positive reinforcement is more effective than most conventional measures. You may also reward staff for brilliant moves like identifying potential security loopholes that may grant data access to unintended parties.

With the right training, they’ll easily identify the impending threats and give staff a role that they’ll be glad to fulfill.

Practice Repeat Training

Most people begin the day by grabbing their mobile phone after waking up. Why? They’ve made it their habit. Research has also proven that repetition is crucial in developing a well-entrenched custom.

The same concept should apply when planning your company’s employee cybersecurity training. Ensure you offer the education program often, giving your staff lots of opportunities to practice safe behaviour with their company data or when they’re online. Continuous training also helps you integrate policy changes while keeping your team updated on the latest scams and threats.

Cybersecurity evolves with technology. Therefore, regularly updating your staff knowledge could be the tipping point whether your data and networks are secure or not.

Issue New Security-Focused Rules

A critical component of your company’s cybersecurity best practices is issuing specific regulations for social media usage, email, internet browsing, and reliance on personal devices. Encourage your staff to practice the ‘safe browsing’ culture and encourage them to be cautious of any suspicious attachment or link.

Don’t’ force them to change their access codes and passwords regularly as they may end up writing them down on sticky notes to remember. Such displays within the workstation could pose a high security threat. Also, don’t make it too convoluted for your employees to access the data or network to handle their jobs. In such a case, they may opt for less secure alternatives like using personal emails and USB sticks to bypass the set regulations.

Any new rules should be in line with the company objectives and must work toward eliminating cybersecurity threats.

Key Takeaway

The COVID-19 era has seen the world gain acquaintance with cybersecurity threats and successful data breaches. In 2020 alone, massive attacks have been reported every week, and this has made more entities prioritize cybersecurity as a means to adapt to the post-pandemic business realities.  

The identities of remote workers and the devices used to access their company networks form the new cybersecurity perimeter. About 87 percent of business entities have experienced significant growth in mobile threats, outpacing any type of threat. This has brought about the need to educate employees about cybersecurity.

Equipping your employees with the basics of cybersecurity and how they can handle threats could greatly benefit your company.

Talk to us today so we can help formulate the right cybersecurity education program for your employees.