Ten tips to improve Cyber Security Awareness amongst your employees

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Cyber Security Awareness

Mistakes happen. But the best way for small and medium-sized businesses to prevent data breaches is to ensure their employees are cyber aware. By improving cyber security awareness, organizations can significantly reduce cybersecurity incidents, paving the way to a cyber aware workforce.

What is Cyber Security Awareness?

Cyber security awareness means empowering people connected with your business to do their role in protecting your organization from potential security threats. Cyber security awareness utilizes credentialing, resources, solutions, training, and tools to deliver knowledge and actions to protect your business.

By creating a cyber security aware workplace culture, a business can ensure its employees, contractors, and suppliers, are mindful of the existence of cyber threats, how to recognize them, and the potential impact on your business.

Furthermore, a cyber security aware workforce can take appropriate steps to ensure such threats are proactively reduced.

Prevention being better than cure, for small and medium businesses pursuing a cyber awareness programme provides a cost-effective manner by which to implement robust defence against cyber threats.

Why Cyber Security Awareness is crucial

Any cybersecurity professional will advise that one of the biggest challenges is the human factor.  Early detection of a data breach or cyberattack can save the company’s reputation, money, and credibility. Recognizing early warning signs to be addressed before the significant damage is done is often the best way to prevent a data breach.

Cyber security training for employees is a good step, but it shouldn’t be done only once.

Recent events have forced many businesses to activate their business continuity plans and switch to remote working.  However, anecdotal evidence suggests that the ratio of cyber attacks has also increased as a result.

It is therefore essential for organizations, particularly small and medium businesses, to promote cyber security awareness amongst both onsite and remote workers, to prevent potential data breaches.

Cyber Security Awareness

10 Ways to raise Cyber Security Awareness amongst your Employees

Presented below are essential steps that small and medium organizations can take to raise the awareness of cyber security amongst their staff:

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1.  Prioritize Cybersecurity in your organization

Like any other business-wide initiative, the success of any cyber security awareness program depends on its implementation.  Take the time to identify and prioritize weak areas, teams or departments which may benefit immediately from cyber security awareness training.  Develop a comprehensive plan to systematically address gaps in cybersecurity amongst your workers, will pay dividends in the long run.

2.  Get management involved

Engaging with senior management and influential employees will add weight to any cyber security awareness program.  Senior management’s involvement will show the high priority accorded to the initiative and how crucial it is.  Furthermore, top-down support will ensure those ultimately responsible for cybersecurity will help it succeed.

Cyber Security Awareness

3. Promote Cyber Security best practices, supported by robust Policies and Procedures

Developing robust cyber security policies and procedures will underpin your awareness program.  Evaluate and consider policies covering the usage of equipment, social media, internet.

See also: 5 best practices for keeping your data safe

4. Set specific rules for emails, browsing, and mobile devices

Ensure that specific rules for browsing, emails, and mobile use are in place. Moreover, tell your employees what they can do and what they can’t. Tell them the consequences of misuse. Educate your employees about how a personal mobile device or insecure browsing can result in data breaches. Set rules and make them easy to understand for employees.

See also: Facebook scams your employees need to avoid

5. Implement Cybersecurity right from the first day

The best and effective way to raise awareness of cybersecurity is to start it from day one. Moreover, it informs employees about their responsibilities. Adapting cybersecurity as part of your onboarding processes and policies is a good method to educate users.

6. Conduct regular Cybersecurity training

Unless you are a large organization, regular training for all your employees may strain your budget.  However, it is important to ensure that cyber security awareness is promoted consistently.  Small and medium businesses can opt for free courses available on the internet for their staff.  Alternatively, you can appoint cybersecurity “champions” or “czars”, who undertake formal training and share the knowledge with other staff members.

7. Make Cybersecurity training mandatory for all

Implement Cybersecurity with the same spirit and seriousness, like other risks. Make cybersecurity training mandatory for everyone, whether through an external course or internal training. Regardless of the employee’s position in the company, everyone must be aware of the common threats

8. Implement Cybersecurity drills

Executing regular cybersecurity drills will allow your staff to learn and recognize various cyber attack scenarios.  A common method is to simulate a phishing scam to check how many employees click on or open these attachments.

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9. Use several topics to raise cyber security awareness

Employees can become desensitized to your initiative.  Raising awareness should not only be about threats.  To keep your staff engaged, consider cyberattack methods and how you would expect your employees to react.  For instance, are your workers aware of your data breach response plan? Or, do they know what to look out for in a phishing email?

Cybersecurity for SMBs – The Who, What, Where, When, Why and How?

Cyber Security Awareness

10. Keep communication lines open

Establish a system to communicate cybersecurity policies and raise awareness throughout the organization. As already covered, regular training sessions help but maybe cost-prohibitive for many small businesses.  Emails and other media help.  For instance, posters, printed from the internet, tailored with contact details of your cyber attack response team (either in-house, or outsourced), will act as a visual reminder.  These posters can cover best practices, password security policies, or how to respond in case of a cyber attack.

Why should businesses promote Cyber Security Awareness?

Cybercrimes are increasing at an alarming rate. It has been observed that the employee’s negligence is responsible for the worst cyber breaches in history. Such attacks highlight the need for Cybersecurity awareness at all levels in the organization.

By implementing cybersecurity awareness and training programs for staff, companies can be protected from serious data breaches and threats, and protect your organization from data breaches and losses.

Cyber Security Awareness

Cyber Security Awareness

An increasing amount of our lives is now affected by the internet.  Organizations, employees and their data, are exposed to an ever-increasing level of cyber threats and technology risks:

  • Cybercrimes are increasing. These include data breaches, online scams, identity and intellectual property theft, and a range of financial crimes including embezzlement and fraud.
  • As these online risks threaten our digital lives, it is critical for small and medium businesses to prioritize cybersecurity.
  • Cybersecurity is the responsibility of all employee. Even small actions can make a contributable difference in keeping your organization safe from potential cyber attacks.

Businesses must continually update their employees about potential security vulnerabilities. Moreover, employees must be trained on how to recognize and avoid these threats. A small data breach can cause a significant loss.

However, this can be avoided by making a comparatively small investment in promoting cyber security awareness within your organization.

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