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Cybersecurity Training Tips for Every Business
As a business-owner or manager, you want to believe your employees are the best at what they do.
You trust them to work hard. To take their role seriously. To follow standard policies and safeguard the security of your company.
But, sadly, employees can — and do — make serious mistakes. One tiny accident or oversight may lead to costly cyber-attacks that disrupt your operations, chase clients away to your competitors and damage your reputation for years to come.
And don’t assume being a small business means you’re not a valuable target for hackers — 43 percent of cyber attacksare aimed at enterprises like yours.
That’s why effective cybersecurity training is paramount for your workforce. Yet actually finding programs that deliver the right education in an engaging way can be difficult. You don’t want to send your employees on a course only to discover they failed to absorb anything they were taught.
We’ve put together four great cybersecurity training tips to help you protect your business from attacks.
#1. Identify Your Business’s Weakest Points
Every company or organization has its weak points, no matter how high-profile it is or how impenetrable it should be.
For example, FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) recently leaked the personal and banking detailsof more than two million people affected by major hurricanes. This was due to the actions of an outside contractor, with a small program error sharing important data.
One would expect FEMA to have processes in place to safeguard against such simple-yet-devastating mistakes, yet this major breach still occurred.
Avoid the same (or similar) errors happening in your business by evaluating your current cybersecurity setup. Ask questions, such as:
Determine which aspects of your employees’ work demands the most attention. This makes finding or devising the most effective training easier. You’ll also know what cybersecurity experts can do to reinforce your systems.
#2. Embrace Interactive Exercises
Simply sitting employees in a conference room and lecturing them on cybersecurity may not be enough on its own. We all know how easily the mind wanders when it’s not stimulated for long periods. But you can make training more engaging and easier to absorb by hosting interactive training exercises, simulating an actual cyber-attack.
One way to do this is to distribute a fake phishing email to your entire workforce and note how people react. Hopefully, the majority of your employees will recognize the signs and take the appropriate action (deletion, reporting it to a supervisor etc.).
But if even one person clicks on a link or downloads an attachment, they could be starting your business along a dangerous road.
Obviously, in an exercise there would be no actual hazard, but keep the scenario as realistic as possible — don’t tell employees about it until after the fact. You’ll be able to gauge which employees or departments are up to speed on external threats, making it easier to determine who training should be aimed at.
You can try other exercises too. For example, consider a ransomware attack in which workers become locked out of certain programs and see how well they follow standard procedure. Can they still perform aspects of their job without access to all their usual tools? How do they notify clients of the issue?
Knowing how your team copes in any cybersecurity crisis is vital. You don’t want to realize you’ve made serious strategic mistakes during the real thing.
#3. Make Training a Regular Part of the Job
Cultivate a cybersecurity-focused company culture. Make sure all employees at all levels understand the importance of being aware and vigilant every single day.
Small training sessions or exercises here and there can make a lasting impact with employees. They’re likely to find a quick 20-minute quiz on common signs of a phishing scam much easier to digest than a five-hour block of training in a stuffy office.
Encourage group training and collaboration too. Your workforce should focus on what they’re being told and take it onboard if they’re able to get involved with others: their minds could wander during long lectures or presentations, but not so much when they’re actively interacting with their colleagues.
#4. Create Reward Schemes and Incentivize Vigilance
Another effective way to make cybersecurity training more impactful is to implement a reward scheme.
Workers may feel more motivated to stay alert and watch out for potential cybersecurity threats if they know they’ll receive a tangible reward for extra efforts. Bringing a reward program into your business can encourage everyone to embrace a stricter cybersecurity policy.
Survey your workforce first to discover which rewards would make the best incentives, within reason. For example, if someone were to spot a malicious email and raised the alarm, they could be given a bonus in their next salary or a ticket to their favorite sports team’s next game.
This may only be a minor expense for the business but will save a huge amount of money down the line.
This program could include more than just spotting potential attacks, too. Consider rewarding employees for attending training and completing quizzes afterward, motivating them to pay close attention.
How to Protect Your Business
Cybersecurity training is paramount for all businesses in all industries. Any employees using a computer or device with internet access must be made aware of the potential risks they face, and effective training will do just that.
But investing in weak training that fails to engage your workers is a waste of everyone’s time and money. Follow the tips explored above and bring in cybersecurity experts to help you get your company protected against common threats.
Remember: your clients’ data, finances and routines could all be affected by an error on your part. Their trust is worth the cost of good training.
At The Driz Group, we can help you understand where you’re going wrong and protect your business. How? Contact us today!
Steve E. Driz, I.S.P., ITCP