Your organization’s cybersecurity strategy should prioritize creating a culture of cybersecurity awareness and readiness with your employees.
Cyber crime is on the rise.
Did you realize that your employees are your first line of defense against a cyberattack? While you can set up any number of precautions by securing your networks and infrastructure, regularly updating your systems, and having a data back-up and recovery plan, attackers will target you where you’re most vulnerable: your employees! This makes it extremely important to develop a culture of cybersecurity awareness and readiness within your workplace.
Cyberattacks can threaten:
- Your organization’s bottom line
- Your ability to operate/access info (i.e., your uptime)
- Your reputation/customer trust
- Your organization’s survival
With so many cybersecurity resources available to businesses – including outsourced managed services – hackers have resorted to tactics like spear-phishing and social engineering to find an easy mark. The cyber landscape is constantly shifting, and this can make it hard for businesses to keep up.
But here’s why you should keep up and how you can get your employees to keep up with you!
The importance of cybersecurity awareness
According to the National Institute of Standards and Technology, organizations should always think of a cyber breach as a matter of when, not if. In order to minimize this imminent risk of a network intrusion, it’s necessary for businesses to bolster their first line of defense against external threats – this means training employees on cybersecurity awareness!
Modern businesses can’t operate without modern technology. This means that in order to streamline their operations, they must digitize their assets and migrate to cloud-based services. However, these advancements in technology also come with a great risk to business security.
Cyberattacks cause problems to businesses in numerous ways. To make matters worse, they’re only becoming more frequent, more catastrophic, and more difficult to diagnose. According to IBM, it takes companies an average of 197 days to identify a data breach. From there, it can take up to another 69 days to contain it.
The dangers of remote work
Based on a PwC survey, remote work brings its own host of dangers when it comes to cybersecurity. The use of employee-owned devices, unsecured connections, and improper device usage can leave companies vulnerable to all types of network intrusions. This is why training employees about cybersecurity awareness is imperative now more than ever.
Some of the most common methods/sources of breaches include:
- Device loss or theft
- Social engineering
- Phishing, malware, and ransomware
- Zero-day exploits
- Botnet attacks
- Failure to keep up with OS patches, antivirus updates, and other critical upgrades.
Knowing about cybersecurity and making it part of your business operations will help you and your staff stay ahead of threats. We’ve put together some ideas to help you get started:
- Talk about cybersecurity – a lot
Make conversations about cybersecurity an ongoing occurrence with your employees. A one-shot email about cybersecurity simply won’t suffice. Corporate workers spend up to a quarter of their workday on email-related tasks, meaning they may not be able to absorb the information or its significance through an email. They may even miss the email altogether. Using different approaches to cybersecurity education, such as regular announcements, newsletter updates, in-person meetings and tests will ensure that cybersecurity consistently remains at the top of their minds.
Conversations need to be understandable, relatable, and diversified. To avoid overwhelming or confusing employees, avoid technical jargon and use simplified terms. Make sure examples are relatable so it’s easier for employees to identify a threat when it comes along.
- Provide on-going training, resources, and tests
By implementing a regular schedule of employee training, employees are staying updated on the latest cyber risks and vulnerabilities. There are plenty of online resources when it comes to training employees on cybersecurity awareness, many of which come free of charge. If you’re unsure where to begin, The National Institute of Standards and Technology has a list of free and low-cost online training content specifically designed for employees, including webinars, courses, and quizzes.
These training programs can provide great insight into relatable and real-world cyberthreats. They can improve your employees’ ability to spot suspicious by teaching them to look out for the following signs:
- Appearance of new apps/programs on their devices
- Pop-ups during device start-up, operation, or before shutdown
- Slow device
- Loss of mouse or keyboard control
- Suspicious emails, texts, or phone calls from colleagues
- Create policies
Cybersecurity procedures explain the rules for how employees, contractors, partners, board members, and other end-users access online applications, send data over networks, and practice responsible cybersecurity. By creating cybersecurity policies, you can help employees and contractors understand how to manage data and application security based on general security expectations, roles, and responsibilities within the organization. Policies may also include sections for different areas of cybersecurity, such as requirements or guidelines for antivirus software or the use of cloud applications.
Regardless of the length of the policy, it’s main purpose should be to prioritize the areas of importance to your organization. These policies should also be easy to read and understand.
- Stay in the know
If you don’t make it a point to stay up to date on cyber security news, tech updates and developments, you’re putting your business at risk. If you’re not sure how you can stay up to date, consider these ideas:
- Read blogs and relevant news. There are plenty of online sources that cover cybersecurity news. You can find them with a simple Google search. You can also sign up for cybersecurity newsletters, subscribe to cybersecurity blogs, follow experts’ Twitter accounts and regularly check the news for mentions of data security. Encourage your employees to do the same!While we recommend staying updated, oftentimes this isn’t enough. If you’re not a cybersecurity professional or don’t have an IT team, then this knowledge can only get you so far.
- Hire staff or outsource a managed service provider. Hiring staff or outsourcing a managed service provider (MSP) can help your organization stay ahead of cyberthreats or other security risks. If your business simply can’t afford to hire full-time staff, partnering with an MSP can be a cost-effective alternative! With an MSP, you can have an entire team of experts at your fingertips, 24/7. To learn more about Synchroworks as an MSP, click here.
Training your employees about cybersecurity awareness can protect your organization from suffering a major breach. By training employees and providing regular and updated resources, you are empowering them to practice the best cybersecurity practices no matter where they are working.
With these simple but effective steps, you can begin to enhance your password security and keep your data safe from hackers. Want to take your cybersecurity to the next level? Learn everything you need to know about data protection here!