Your company’s biggest cybersecurity weakness may be your employees. Your staff likely means well, but if they aren’t trained in proper cybersecurity procedures, their innocent errors could cost you a small fortune. But you can keep your company both positive and protected with cybersecurity awareness training.
Not sure where to start? In this blog, we’ll walk you through the basics and help you plan a robust cybersecurity training program to keep your employees and your business safe from cyberthreats.
Start by Setting Goals
Before you develop a cybersecurity awareness program, identify what you want to accomplish: What do you want your employees to know? How can you educate them in ways that will protect your company? You’ll want to educate your employees about:
- Policies and Procedures. Clearly communicate each cybersecurity policy and procedure for your organization. You don’t want to make policies and procedures so complex that they hinder business. Keep policies and procedures short and precise. Protect your company without excessively burdening your employees. Balance is the key to a safe and productive work environment.
- Whom to Contact. Even the best cybersecurity training can’t prevent every breach. But it is possible to lessen the impact of a data breach if employees report it quickly. They should know how to recognize a breach and how to report it. Quick reporting allows your company to contain the breach and limit damage. Have a specified security contact for every employee so that breaches are reported efficiently.
- Value of Data. A data breach often comes with an alarming – and expensive – realization. Data breaches can cost your company millions. A cybersecurity failure costs your company money in the form of lost revenue, legal fees, public relations fees, and technology remediation. While companies may hesitate to invest in cybersecurity training, the investment more than pays off by helping your company avoid a financially crippling incident.
Cybersecurity Training Objectives
Cybersecurity training should involve both conditioning and awareness. “Conditioning” means improvement by practice. You may want to attach a positive reward to improved performance and attach penalties to cybersecurity missteps. It seems basic, but rewards and punishments often work. And while practice may not make perfect, employee practice should improve your company’s cybersecurity.
Awareness takes a bit more intellectual understanding. You want to educate your employees on cybersecurity risks and how to prevent these vulnerabilities from being exposed. If employees understand why you are requiring them to follow strict security practices, they may more diligently comply with your requests. Treat them like the adults they are, and help them understand the reasoning behind your cybersecurity program.
What Your Training Program Should Cover
Cybersecurity training should protect all aspects of your business from potential harm. Don’t assume that all of your employees have advanced technical knowledge. Instead, start with the basics, and get more specific and technical from there.
A robust cybersecurity training program should educate employees about the following:
“Malware” is the term for dangerous programs and codes, including spyware, viruses, and ransomware. These attacks, launched by clicking a random attachment, are very common. In addition to installing antivirus software, employees should be trained to not open attachments from unknown sources.
2. Password security
Create password requirements that are complex enough to survive hackers’ attempts. Prompt employees to change passwords regularly and after any potential security breach. In addition, encourage employees to use multi-factor authentication to add an extra layer of security.
3. Desktop security
Computer programs must be updated with software patches. These updates improve security, yet many computer users fail to update their programs. This leaves computers vulnerable to attack. Hackers take advantage of systems that have not been updated.
4. Working remotely using Wi-Fi
Remote work options give employees flexibility and can improve job satisfaction. However, employees must be trained in secure Wi-Fi protocols. Hackers can intercept information transmitted over public Wi-Fi networks. Employees should never use a public Wi-Fi network to transmit sensitive information.
5. Social engineering
Using social engineering, cybercriminals trick users into revealing sensitive information. Social engineering can also prompt users to click on a harmful attachment that will infect their computer with a virus. Social engineering includes these tactics: baiting, phishing, email hacking, and other manipulative ploys.
6. Email security
Nearly every type of business depends on email for most communication. But email can also serve as a tool for cybercrime, allowing hackers to invade your computer network. Install virus protection and set spam filters to catch unwanted email. Train employees to use caution when opening attachments or emails from unfamiliar senders.
7. Physical security
Employees work on a variety of electronic devices, including mobile phones, tablets, and laptops, all of which can be lost or stolen. Create awareness of the importance of keeping up with mobile devices. Mobile and office devices should always be locked with unique passwords.
8. Mobile device security
Mobile devices should only be used for company business on secure networks. Mobile devices pose a cybersecurity threat because employees use them for varied functions and often fail to secure them. The Department of Homeland Security is so concerned about mobile device security that it released a 100-page study on the issue.
9. Phishing awareness
Phishing is the preferred method of many hackers. They send an official-sounding email, and innocent users click on it. The email may prompt users to enter sensitive information such as bank account or Social Security numbers. Employees should be on guard against this sneaky type of attack.
10. Travel security
Stepping out of the office shouldn’t mean stepping away from secure mobile protocol. When traveling, make sure your employees keep all mobile devices secure and password-protected. They should never use public Wi-Fi to transmit sensitive information while traveling.
11. General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) training
GDPR provides rules for companies and employees operating in the European Union (EU), as well as those that offer goods or services to businesses and customers in the EU. These rules specify safe cybersecurity practices. They protect your customers and your business. Penalties after a data breach include fines, decreased revenue, and diminished reputation.
Cybersecurity is everyone's responsibility, from the top to the bottom rungs of your company. With proper cybersecurity training, your employees will understand how to promote a secure work environment and do their part to protect your company.
It’s an investment in your company’s revenue and reputation that is well worth making.
Don’t know where to start with employee cybersecurity training? Function4 is here to help by providing security awareness training to your employees and fortifying your security across all channels. Contact us today.