Introducing efficient software is only half the battle when it comes to preventing cyber attacks. Human error plays a major role, too, which means you need to tackle your staff’s training head-on. If this is an area of cybersecurity you believe needs a revamp, adopting some of the following tips could strengthen your organization’s network against threats.
Discuss passwords with your employees
Although having a strong password won’t tackle all your cybersecurity woes, it does make a significant contribution. Unfortunately, not everyone is willing to create a unique password for every setting. Only having one or two go-to passwords to remember is easier. When your employees take this easy road, they make cybersecurity breaches more likely.
You should train your employees to use an entirely different password for their work accounts than the ones they use for personal purposes. Stress to them that it isn’t acceptable to use variations of a word, or to just alter the numbers that follow it. Encourage them to use special characters, different letter cases, and strings of numbers. Finally, make sure that when the time comes for them to change their work passwords, they choose entirely unique ones again.
Help them tackle phishing
Most employees consider themselves to be quite tech-savvy. As a result, if you ask them if they’re likely to fall for phishing scams, they’ll immediately deny that they could.
Unfortunately, phishing has come a long way since its early beginnings. It’s no longer a simple case of attackers sending out emails claiming to be a wealthy Nigerian benefactor in an attempt to sequester bank details. Phishing scams are becoming increasingly more elaborate, with some successfully masquerading as organizations that your employees will know and trust.
According to one study, 20% of employees remain vulnerable to phishing attacks as they’re likely to respond with the details the scammer wants.
Around 67% of those who fall for phishing emails are repeat victims, which suggests there’s a cohort of people out there who could benefit from extra training.
To tackle this problem, train your employees to look for phishing emails. Educate them on the different types that are out there and encourage them to have a low index of suspicion before they feel the need to raise the problem with your IT team. Additionally, let them know who they should approach if they suspect an email is a phishing attack and give them tips for verifying the status of the sender.
Create a data handling policy
Most industries have specific rules for managing data. For example, healthcare professionals can only access the files of patients who they have a vested professional interest in. They usually can’t take patient information away from their facility, as this could result in a significant breach of confidentiality.
To prevent cyber attacks, your business should have its own policy on managing data. Identify who can access what, whether the data can be taken offsite, and whether it’s possible to access it remotely. You should also form specific policies that focus on how data can be shared. For example, can it be shared via email?
Provide your employees with regular training on data protection. Do this at least once a year, or whenever your rules surrounding data use change. Ensure each employee has been marked as attending their routine training and provide training to new hires too.
Produce a no-blame atmosphere for reporting
Accidents happen, but if your employees live in a culture of fear, they may try to cover their mistakes. During your cybersecurity training, inform your employees that there’s an accidental data breach amnesty. If they have accidentally downloaded something that’s caused a problem or clicked on a bad link in a phishing email, they should be able to report it without repercussions. By creating a no-blame atmosphere, you increase the likelihood that someone will report a mistake immediately rather than allow it to grow out of control.
At the same time, also make it clear that recklessness or failing to follow company policies does not fall into this rule. For example, if an employee handles data offsite when it’s made explicitly clear not to, any subsequent breach is reckless rather than accidental.
Apply cybersecurity policies to various devices
Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) policies make it easier for employees to work flexibly. They can tackle company issues during their commute, receive emails at home, and engage in remote working where necessary.
Around 59% of companies allow employees to use their own devices for work purposes.
While BYOD policies make life easier for everyone, they also introduce cybersecurity hazards. Tell employees that they must respond to software updates immediately. Failing to complete updates when they become available results in devices being vulnerable to attacks. Additionally, tell them not to neglect their device’s physical security. They should always know where the device is and have it in sight. This becomes especially important if they choose to use it when commuting on public transport as opportunistic thieves can present security problems.
If you want to take an especially strict approach, request that employees who use their phones protect them with biometric readings. This means relying on face recognition technology and fingerprint passes. Unlike passcodes, it’s not easy to bypass either technology.
Consider live training exercises
Finally, if you want to underpin your cybersecurity training with real demonstrations, consider using live training exercises. Live training exercises don’t have to be overly elaborate. Instead, they could focus on interactive sessions where employees are asked to recognize phishing emails.
By using live training exercises, you can assess the efficacy of your training and give your employees a firmer grounding in how your advice works. As many people learn better from mistakes than rote learning alone, this could also drive the lesson home for those who are most vulnerable to attacks.
With a strong focus on routine cybersecurity training, you protect your business’s interests. When used alongside robust software, this is a reliable way to minimize data loss and operational downtime due to attacks.
If you want to strengthen your cybersecurity, the team at ICS Data can help. We serve businesses throughout Norton Shores, MI and beyond. To discuss your organization’s security requirements, contact us.