Cyber threats are usually blamed on malicious outsiders – hackers trying to steal confidential customer or client information, corporate intelligence, or financial data. However, the ignorance or unintentional negligence of a business’s employees sometimes opens the door and invites these cyber criminals in. To prevent this careless behavior, there is a need to educate employees on their responsibility to help prevent a cyber security breach. Therefore, with respect to your business, don’t wait to react until a cyber problem occurs; instead, make the assumption that security may well be compromised at some point in time, and help your personnel learn how to assist in ensuring the safety of your company. Here are some practical steps you can take to raise the level of security awareness inside your organization.
Hold Discussions With Your Employees
It’s not enough to just have your employees read and sign a document delineating your company’s IT policies. You also need to talk to them about the possibility of a cyber event and emphasize the negative impact this will have on your business. Make your employees feel involved by explaining their obligations to the company in this regard.
Include Top Management
It’s vital not to exclude executives and top management personnel in your network security education. Traveling executives availing themselves of free hotel Wi-Fi without encryption can be targets of cyber “pirates.” Consider that potential damage to your company and financial rewards to the perpetrators can be much greater if top level management is involved.
Conduct Regular Training Sessions
All new employees should receive mandatory training in cyber security, and everyone should have regular refresher courses. Don’t wait until a problem has occurred before putting your training program in place. Formulate specific rules concerning file transfers, e-mails, application downloads, Web browsing, mobile devices and social networks. Explain to employees how to recognize suspicious looking links from unknown sources and contacts from individuals pretending to be co-workers and asking seemingly innocuous questions – what these persons are really up to is attempting to gather information about your company and its operations. To lighten the mood, you could quiz your attendees to test how much they have learned – make this fun and relevant, and give rewards for good performance.
You want your employees to feel free to complain if they find some requirements too irksome to comply with. For example, if you make it a rule that everyone has to change their passwords once a week, be aware that they will resort to less secure procedures such as typing them into on-line documents or writing them on post-it notes stuck to their computer monitors.
Don’t Be Discouraging
Never appear irritated towards an employee who raises a red flag, even if it turns out to be a false alarm. This will make the individual hesitant to speak up the next time when the problem might be real. If too many false alarms are being reported, think about revising your training procedures.
Be Prompt and Transparent
If a network security incident occurs, communicate this to your workforce as quickly as possible. Any delay can make the situation worse, increasing the adverse impact on your company.
Put Procedures in Place
Formulate step-by-step instructions on how employees should react if they believe they have encountered a security problem. Another plan should provide strategies for internal communications and public relations to provide an efficient and calm response to a cyber security attack.
It’s absolutely necessary to take steps to protect your business against malware and cyber crime. However, you don’t have to do it alone. Our expertise can assist you with all aspects of network security risks from inside and outside sources. Talk to us and we will be happy to provide information on this and all of our IT services.