Your workforce is either your strongest line of defense… or your weakest link!
The only way to eliminate many cyber security threats, such as advanced malware and even ransomware, is to rely on sophisticated technology. But employees are typically your most essential source of vulnerability.
Hence, it is crucial to educate your employees about cyber security and the threats posed against it. Keep reading to know more about how your employees can turn out to be one of the most prominent risk factors against cyber security.
How Do Employees Affect Cyber Security?
It might seem hard to believe, but one of the top threats to cyber security is employees leaving laptops and mobile devices unattended in vulnerable places in compromised situations, such as public transport, cars, and restaurants. Or, using their organization’s system to access public Wi-Fi in unsecured hotspots. Or even storing sensitive information on the local hard drive instead of the server or using easy-to-guess, weak passwords. With 94% of all malware delivered via email, clicking on links that disguise as they originate from legitimate sources but are by bad actors phishing for opportunities to infiltrate their network.
In sum, whether leaving their physical devices vulnerable to theft or through behaviors that invite attack, employees are practically rolling out a welcome mat for hackers, putting the network and confidential information at risk.
What Can We Do To Prevent Cyber Theft?
In the first instance, you need to ensure that your IT security policy is sophisticated and comprehensive enough to cover all possible loopholes and sources of attack, including the latest threats, and contains a documented remediation plan.
However, simply having a rigid policy will not go far enough. The employees don’t willfully disregard it; rather, they genuinely lack awareness of the risks and consequences. You cannot simply expect new hires to sign the “I have read and understood the IT policy” statement over the onboarding process. In particular, without employees being sensitized to malware’s capacity to disrupt the enterprise (as well as its consequences for them if it does), preventing its propagation onto the network could be risky.
It is, therefore, essential that you take a proactive approach to educate your entire workforce about cyber security threats and countermeasures before someone or something compromises your systems, data, reputation, or even livelihood.
Still, confused about how to educate your employees against cyber theft? Here are some tips that may help you with the same.
Cyber Security Education for Employees: Five Tips
Have a Clear Communication about the Potential Impact of a Cyber-Incident on Your Business
Explain the spiraling consequences of risky activities — from financial losses or fines to damaged customer trust. Discuss scenarios such as leaving your laptop on the train, accessing work documents through an open Wi-Fi network in a coffee shop, and opening personal emails on a work device. Is it dangerous to divulge personal information on Facebook that could be used in work applications as passwords? Oftentimes, people are not aware of the harm they are potentially doing to your business by their everyday misbehaviors.
Implying Cyber Security is a Shared Responsibility
The senior an employee, the more information they typically have a hold of, making them more prone to cybercriminals. IT staff have even greater power over the network, making them susceptible to determined hackers, so ensure that complacency does not set in. Reassure everyone that your establishment’s infrastructure is only as secure as its weakest or strongest link.
Hold Frequent Cyber Security Sessions
Cyber Security awareness needs to happen before your business is hit by a cyber incident, not in its aftermath. Aside from incorporating cyber security training into the onboarding process, set up a regular event such as a lunch ‘n’ learn or online forum where staff can pool information about cyber security. Whether sharing the latest news about a high-profile breach or conveying an informative article about cyber-crime tactics, keep the meetings relevant and engaging.
Issue-Specific Conventions for Email, Internet Browsing, Social Grids, and Mobile Devices
Promote a culture of “safe browsing” and caution your staff to be wary of suspicious links and attachments from unknown sources, especially when using company devices — whether it’s a phishing email or a video on social media. Level up with the fact that if you force employees to change their passwords regularly, they’ll probably resort to writing them down on a sticky note left on display at their workstations. Nevertheless, if you make it too tricky or time-consuming to access the systems and data they need to do their jobs, they will find less secure workarounds like USB sticks or personal email to bypass your controls.
Train Your Workforce to Recognize and Respond to a Cyber-Incident
Provide your staff with a clear channel, such as an emergency number. It will allow them to notify you immediately of suspicious emails or unusual activity and to report a lost device, even if it is a false alarm. There are times when cyberattacks are preceded by seemingly innocent work-related phone calls, purportedly from a supplier or service provider to find out account information or passwords, so be alert to such calls as precursors to cybercrime. You should provide everyone with a heads-up in case of a cyber-attack, breach, or cyber incident. Be prepared to handle questions and reassure concerned customers and investors by having an internal communication and PR strategy in place.
How Can Under-Controls Management System Help?
Even though there is no foolproof method for protecting your business, educating your employees about security threats and best practices for online behavior and privacy can, at least, make it less likely that human error will lead to a breach.
Under-Controls Management System can provide assistance and guidance to companies regarding cyber security compromises. This process can authorize you to map your business strategies, examine your infrastructure and security practices, and identify and rectify any gaps or vulnerabilities. So, what is the wait for?
Contact Under-Controls Management System as soon as possible.