How To Effectively Educate Your Employees About Cybersecurity
Any business owner will agree that cybersecurity is a serious concern. Companies that do not protect themselves from attackers are at risk of losing control of their sensitive data. According to the 2021 IBM Cost of Data Breach Report, the average cost of a data breach is $4.35 million, a considerable figure that is rising every year. While it is essential to educate your employees about cybersecurity, it can be difficult to do so effectively. These tips may help.
Improve Your Messaging
Talking to your employees about cybersecurity is hard. Over-simplify the issue and your employees will not grasp the gravity of the situation; add too many details and they may have trouble staying awake. Businesses often have trouble getting their workforce to see the big picture because employees feel removed from the situation. A more effective way to communicate the cost of a cybersecurity breach might be to explain how it could affect them personally. For instance, an employee may lose the trust of their valuable clients or their private data might be misused.
That said, be careful not to create fear, uncertainty, and doubt. Avoid technical jargon as much as possible and choose clear and understandable messaging instead. Rather than telling employees that they will be penalized for violating security policies, encourage them to play a part in protecting the company. Positive reinforcement helps your employees to have a personal stake in the cybersecurity plan. Reward workers for spotting potential cyberattack avenues or reporting suspicious emails. Emphasize that cybersecurity is a team effort that benefits everyone.
Keep Work and Personal Life Apart
Each time a file is opened or downloaded, there is the risk of a security breach. According to CSO, email malware attacks increased by 600% from 2019 to 2020. While your company email server may have stringent cybersecurity protection in place, your employees’ personal email servers may not. Cybercriminals regularly target popular email service providers such as Gmail. When your employees access their personal emails via their work computers, they may download seemingly innocent files that expose your entire network to malware.
Another important point to impress upon your employees is to use unique passwords for work accounts. While your company’s cybersecurity network may be watertight, it is unlikely that your employees’ home networks are that well protected. Although one password is easier to remember than ten, it is substantially less secure. If your employees use the same passwords for their personal and business accounts, attackers who breach their home networks will be able to access your business accounts in a flash. Consider using a password vault to help your staff manage their passwords.
Cybersecurity is an Ongoing Conversation
Many companies make the mistake of thinking that their cybersecurity will improve after just one meeting. The truth is that old habits die hard. As the impact of your talk fades away, your employees may be less careful with their online actions. The best way to ensure that information security stays at the forefront of everyone’s minds is to make it part of your company culture. Cybersecurity should be included during onboarding and regularly reviewed for effectiveness. Be sure to keep up with cybersecurity threats and trends and update your security protocols accordingly.
Having an appropriate response to attacks is another essential aspect of cybersecurity training. Cyberattack response should focus on prompt action and damage control. Some companies have a designated 24-hour hotline for reporting unusual activity while others mandate that all lost mobile devices must be reported within two hours. While not all events will conclude in a cyberattack, your cybersecurity team must be at the ready to limit potential damage.
Conducting a cybersecurity drill is another way to assess the understanding of your employees and test your security protocol. You can work with your in-house cybersecurity team or engage a third-party service provider to fabricate a malware or phishing email. Remember that the purpose of these cybersecurity drills is not to single out and reprimand any single team member. Your aim is to identify the weak points in your cybersecurity and to gauge the effectiveness of your information security messaging.
Empower Your Cybersecurity Team
Some companies think that the best way to improve their cybersecurity is to hire a brand new team of experts. However, you can achieve excellent results by training and empowering your existing cybersecurity team. Professional coaches like the renowned cybersecurity keynote speaker Christian Espinosa can teach your tech professionals to overcome their mental barriers and improve their emotional intelligence. A good cybersecurity team can communicate the importance of security protocols, collaborate with different departments, and adapt quickly to new challenges.
When introducing cybersecurity measures, ensure that everyone from casual employees to C-suite officers are onboard. Empower your cybersecurity team to craft a protocol that encompasses the entire organization, with no exceptions. When employees see that the cybersecurity team has a strong mandate, they are more likely to take them seriously.
Cybersecurity is an essential consideration for any modern organization. Invest in the potential of your cybersecurity team. With your cybersecurity team performing at its peak, you can focus on growth and success.