Employee Cybersecurity Training - What's the Big Deal?

employee cybersecurity trainingYou've heard of the dangers - phishing, malware, ransomware, spam, hacking, social engineering.  What if there was a way to protect your business from these dangers?  The easiest line of defense may be with your employees by implementing an employee cybersecurity training program.  If your employees aren't aware of security threats, how can they know how to stop them or report them to your IT department?  The human factor still remains the largest threat to our business security.

So if an employee cybersecurity training program is one of the keys to making your business more secure, just what types of things do you need to cover in said training, and how do you go about training your employees on these threats?  Let's work to answer both of these questions.

Employee Cybersecurity Training - What to Cover

  • Forms of Cybersecurity Threats. Knowing the basic forms of cybersecurity threats is imperative to an effective program.  This will include spam, phishing, malware, ransomware and social engineering. Don't just provide them with definitions, but concrete examples of what these threats look like.  For spam, that may be a fake LinkedIn invite to connect (they carry viruses).  Phishing samples and how to tell an email is phishing is also key.
  • Password Security. With so much of our lives, both personal and professional, revolving around technology, everyone needs passwords for applications.  Often times, people utilize one or two generic passwords for all of their needs, and those passwords are easily cracked by cybercriminals.  Employee cybersecurity training should reinforce the importance of unique passwords, and how passwords are the first line of defense against cyber attacks.
  • Protection of Company Data.  All companies have policies on data protection, but just because they are on paper in your handbook doesn't mean employees know the exist or understand them.  Employee cybersecurity training works to explain those policies and what they really mean for the company.  Ongoing training ensures employees stay current on the policies and truly understand their place in the workplace.
  • How to Identify and Report Threats.  Every good employee cybersecurity training should help employees note red flags and warnings that employees can see to sniff out threats.  Provide them with the company policy on reporting these warnings including the right person to speak with if an attack may have occurred.  Employees should be made to feel comfortable making a report, even if the report is unfounded.  Making reports shows that employees are paying attention, and that is of the utmost importance.

Now that you know what to cover, how should you go about the training?  The following tips will help you with that aspect.

  • Start on Day 1.  Cybersecurity is a real and tangible threat to your company.  Incorporate employee cybersecurity training in your new hire process.  By incorporating this information from the start, you reinforce that cybersecurity is an important component of working with your company and that you take online behavior seriously.
  • Provide Plenty of Refresher Courses. According to research, repetition is the key to forming a habit.  When it comes to incorporating these new practices into your employees' daily work life, just seeing it once won't make it stick.  Offer plenty of opportunities to learn about cybersecurity and make sure you are holding regular refresher courses.  Ongoing training will also provide you the opportunity to include policy changes and info on the latest scams making their way around the world.
  • Test Employees. When training is completed, make sure you quiz your employees on what they've learned.  This will ensure that they are retaining the important information you're providing.
  • Do Your Own Testing. It's easy to provide information to employees, but unless they are putting it into practice, it likely won't stick.  Throw out some phishing emails or spam to see how employees handle it.  These real-life tests will provide you with intel on what parts of your training need work and where you have been successful.
  • Recognize Employees Who Identify Threats. Once practices really take hold, employees will begin to identify threats and report them regularly.  Use this opportunity to recognize the vigilance of employees, and encourage others to follow in their footsteps.

With employee cybersecurity training, you can protect your business and your employees from the realities of online threats.  Having employees on alert and ready to face these threats provides you with a great defense against cyber attacks.  Fraser Advanced Information Systems provides employee cybersecurity training for companies both large and small.  For more information on our training, contact us today!