7 Measures to Take for Training Your Employees in Cybersecurity
For most organizations ensuring IT security only revolves around installing anti-virus software, firewalls, and using other cybersecurity technologies. They forget to strengthen one of their organization’s important line of defense against cyber attacks, which is their employees. Employee unawareness on the matters of cybersecurity is a leading cause of an organization falling prey to cyber attacks in the first place. There doesn’t even have to be any malicious intent involved; simple inadvertent mistakes made by employees such as unknowingly clicking on a phishing email is enough to put the organization’s IT security into jeopardy.
Come to think of it, doesn’t security vulnerabilities like these seem avoidable? That’s because they are! As an organization, educating and training your employees on basic cybersecurity measures can go a long way in ensuring that your strong line of defense doesn’t relegate into a weak link. In addition to hiring a managed IT services provider for managing your network security and cybersecurity needs, you must also make sure that you are doing the following to train your employees in cybersecurity best practices:
Organize Cybersecurity Training Programs Regularly
Whether it’s a new employee or someone who has been with the company for a long time, make it mandatory for everybody to attend the cybersecurity training programs. Use these programs to educate employees on different aspects of IT security. Reminding employees of the company’s security policies at each of these programs would be a good way to let the employees completely understand these policies. You could discuss the latest news or advancement in cybersecurity. Real-life case studies related to security breaches may also be used to drive home the importance of cybersecurity. These programs would also be a great place for you to test how well-acquainted your employees are with cybersecurity.
Implement Strict Password Creation and Management Rules
Think of passwords as a secure lock on your business’s IT security, and encourage your employees to do the same. Outline stringent rules for creating and managing passwords for your employees to adhere to. Ask your employees to keep all their work devices locked using passwords. Lay down the requirements for what constitutes a strong, complex password. Remind employees to keep changing their passwords regularly. Ask them not to use the same password everywhere. Also establish guidelines for storing and sharing passwords safely. Even though password creation and management may seem like a very simple practice in the huge context of cybersecurity, it’s actually one of the most important and effective ones.
Teach Safe Way to Browse the Internet
If you allow Internet surfing and using social networking platforms in the workplace, then you should teach the employees safe practices for doing so. Clicking on a suspicious link they run into on the Internet or on social media may provide hackers and attackers a free ticket to your organization’s internal network through a malware. Set rules on what your employees can and can not explore on the Internet when in office. They should also avoid pop-up windows since these could pose threats; blocking pop-ups altogether may save some trouble. Define clear instructions for how employees can download and install software on their computer system.
Teach Safe Way to Use Emails
Phishing attacks through email are pretty common and you need to ensure that your employees are trained enough to avoid these attacks. To do this, you must first educate employees on what a phishing email looks like. If the employees know how to identify a phishing scam, they’d know what to avoid. Educate your employees on the dangers of opening or downloading suspicious files and attachments that come with emails of questionable credibility. Tell them not to share any sensitive personal or business information in response to such emails.
Also, educate your employees on what they should do when they encounter phishing emails. If the phishing email seems personalized for your company, then such an email should be brought to light. In case your employees are repeatedly receiving such and similar emails, then that might be in an indication of a planned spear phishing attack against your business. You would want to bring in the help of your managed IT services provider on this.
Determine the Use of Removable Devices in Workplace
Unsafe use of removable or portable media devices such as DVDs, external hard drives, and pen drives can cause a number of security issues. They could infect your IT network with a malware, cause hardware to fail, or threaten the security of your business data. Hence, it’s necessary to define rules governing the use of such devices by your employees at workplace, for both cases when the device is personally owned and when it’s found as stray.
Enforce Appropriate Access Control Measures
Not all your employees need to have access to all business related information. An employee should only have access to data that is pertinent to them, depending on their role in the organization. This is why it’s essential that you enforce proper access control procedures that determine what information an employee can or can’t view and access. Limiting or restricting access to data based on relevance ensures that the confidential data is available only to people with necessary authority. In addition to determining who can access what data, you may also specify operations (like copying, editing, saving) that are permissible for any given data.
Update Software and Scan Devices Regularly
Finally, to ensure that your network and systems continue to be safe and secure, it’s important that at regular intervals all installed software programs are upgraded as well as all employee devices are scanned to detect and remove any malware, if found. Regular security updates are super important, otherwise security vulnerabilities may begin to creep in which may then be exploited by opportunist hackers. If you have a managed IT services provider, then they will take the responsibility of keeping all your hardware devices and software programs updated and secure.