When it comes to cybersecurity, many employees do not realize they’re on the front lines for information security risk. An unintentional click to the wrong link could lead to a data breach. Your company may have outlined the perfect cybersecurity policy, but without proper employee training, those protections will not keep you completely secure.
Upholding cybersecurity standards are essential for any company that wants to stay in business. Vulnerabilities in a company’s information system can lead to financial devastation for years to come.
Below are some of the steps you can take as an organization to better prepare your employees to identify and mitigate cyber threats.
Implement A Top-down Approach To IT Security
The first step to safe training on cybersecurity is to change your organizational mindset. IT security is a shared responsibility between more than your IT department, CTO, or Managed Service Provider (MSP). We covered the basics of a top-down approach to IT Security in a previous blog post. This approach gets everyone working for your company involved – from the C-level execs to the newly hired intern.
Once every employee understands the gravity of a cyberattack and its impact, they can be expected to take cybersecurity seriously.
IT Policies Focused on Cyber Security
The next step is to formulate IT policies and lay down the best practices for your staff to follow. Ideally, your IT policy should cover the following:
- Rules regarding password setting
- Password best practices
- The implications of password sharing
- Corrective actions that will be taken in the event the password policy is not followed
Set in place rules regarding the usage of personal devices at work or for work purposes. Answer questions like: Are all employees allowed to use personal devices for work? Or do you want to limit it to those handling lesser sensitive data? What about individuals that may need to be available 24/7? Clarify the rules that they must follow.
For example, you may require a weekly or monthly check for malware and updates to anti-malware software. If only certain kinds of devices, software, or operating systems are approved, then that should be addressed in the policy.
Discuss best practices and educate your employees on the risks related to connecting to open internet connections (Free WiFi) such as the ones offered at malls or airports.
Document the cybersecurity measures that you have in place for your business. This should include your digital measures such as the software you have deployed to keep malware out, such as the anti-virus tools and firewalls. Also, consider the physical measures such as CCTV systems and biometric access controls.
An example of good cybersecurity practice is how you handle employee turnover. When someone quits your organization or has changed positions, how is the access issue addressed? Clarify the process of removing a user from the network, changing passwords, and limiting access.
Employee Training in Cyber Security
Employee training will form a big part of the cybersecurity initiative that you will take on as an organization. You need to train your employees to identify and respond correctly to cyberthreats. Here are some employee training best practices that you can make a part of your cybersecurity training program.
Create an IT Policy Handbook
Make sure you have a handbook of your IT policy that you share with every new employee. Since IT is evolving at a great speed, ensure the handbook is consistently updated.
Make Cybersecurity Training Part of the Official Training Initiatives
Cybersecurity training should be a part of your corporate training initiatives for all new employees. You can also conduct refresher sessions once in a while to ensure your existing employees are up-to-date on the latest cyberthreats.
At the end of the training session, conduct tests, mock drills, certification exams. Provide follow-up training and assessments for those who need it. This strong emphasis on training will ensure your employees take cybersecurity seriously.
Day Zero Alerts
As discussed, the cybercrime landscape is constantly evolving. Every day, cybercriminals are finding new vulnerabilities to exploit, and new methods to steal your data or to hack into your system. Day zero alerts are a great way to keep your employees updated. Has a new security threat been discovered or an important plug-in released for the optimal functioning of a browser? Send an email to everyone spelling out clearly what the threat is and what they can do to mitigate it. Then, follow up to verify they took the necessary steps.
Let your employees know who to contact in the event of any IT related challenges. This is important because someone troubleshooting on the internet for a solution to something as simple as a zipping up a file could end up downloading malware accidentally. Being a victim of a cyber-attack can prove disastrous for your business – causing a negative brand image, loss of customers, and opening the possibility of lawsuits.
In light of such serious ramifications, it makes sense for organizations to training and inform all employees about cybersecurity. Talk about and train your employees on a regular basis. Keeping security issues at the top of their mind so they know exactly what to look for and the right steps to take in the event of a cyber attack.