Most practice owners and office managers are working to improve their cybersecurity posture to prevent the same attacks and breaches that have made headlines in the past several years. They are updating their firewalls, looking into antivirus and antimalware tools, and performing penetration tests to uncover any weakness in their practice network. But one area that’s often overlooked is employee education and training. The truth is, employees can be one of the biggest threats to a dental office’s security if not trained properly and aware of all the risks out there.
So how can practices make sure their employees are up to date on the most recent cybersecurity threats and how to prevent them? In this article, we are going to walk through employee cybersecurity training and testing so that you can feel confident that your employees are security assets and not security risks.
How to Increase Cybersecurity Awareness In Your Practice
Host Regular Cybersecurity Trainings
The first, most important step you should be taking to ensure your employees are working securely is to have regular training to keep them up to speed on the newest types of attacks, what to look out for, and how to avoid them. It’s important to note that this isn’t a one-off thing but rather a persistent exercise in your practice. Hackers are continuously finding new ways to break into healthcare networks or update and improve old ways, so it is imperative to keep up with the latest attack trends and prevention methods.
Practices should hold cybersecurity training at least once a year, but you can always increase the frequency too.
Holding quarterly, monthly, or new hire training will not just provide more information for your employees but also develop a stronger cybersecurity culture at your practice.
There is a wide range of topics that practices can train employees on when it comes to cybersecurity, but here are top priority topics that should not be left out:
- Forms of cybersecurity threats: It seems like there is a never-ending list of cyberattacks, with new methods being implemented all the time. When you’re getting ready for employee training, they must understand many of the most popular types of attacks so they can spot and prevent any security breaches. Teach your employees about phishing, malware, ransomware, spam, and social engineering. It’s also helpful to provide examples if you can. Find some common phishing emails and present them to your employees so they can get an idea of what to look for.
- The importance of passwords: Another topic that every cybersecurity training should include is your practice’s password policy. Your employees all have heard how essential passwords are. Still, it’s easy for workers to overlook password advice if they don’t fully understand the consequences of lousy password habits or have a formal guide to follow. So figure out your company’s password policy and reaffirm its importance at every cybersecurity training. Our motto is: “Treat your password like your toothbrush. Don’t let anyone use it and get a new one every six months.”
- How to keep software up-to-date: Another important topic to include in your cybersecurity training is why and how employees should be making sure all of their software is up-to-date. Software updates are so important because they patch any weaknesses or bugs in the software. If they are not updated, hackers can use these known vulnerabilities to easily make their way into your network. So teach your employees that they should continuously be checking for updates across every piece of software and every device they use. This is especially important for any remote work where employees have more responsibility for their devices. Here at Pact-One, we stay ahead of the curve, providing security patch management so you get the latest software updates as soon as they’re available.
- How and where to report cybersecurity threats: Another essential part of any cybersecurity is informing your employees of what they should do when they have a question or concern about cybersecurity. If your employee gets an email that they think might be a phishing email, they should immediately know whom to reach out to and how to report it. This allows your cybersecurity team to stay on top of any incoming threats and prevent them in the future.
Always Train New Employees on Cybersecurity
The next step in cybersecurity awareness and training at your organization is to immediately train incoming employees on your processes and protocols. All new hires should know what your practice’s cybersecurity plan looks like and how to do their part in keeping your practice safe. So make sure you have this included with any other onboarding training and material.
Put Your Employees to the Test
Last but not least, another critical aspect of training your employees and increasing cybersecurity awareness is testing them, reviewing the results, and then re-emphasizing processes and any areas that need it. One simple and easy test that every practice should be doing is a phishing test. Phishing is one of the most common cyber attacks, and it’s often targeted at employees. So, to ensure that your employees are paying attention, send out a fake phishing email and record the result of how many workers at your practice opened the email, clicked on a link, downloading anything, or input any information. If you find that a large percentage of your employees fell for the trick, then it’s a sign that it’s time for some more training. If most employees were able to spot it as phishing and report it, this could indicate that you are on the right track in raising cybersecurity awareness. Either way, it shows you where your practice needs to improve when it comes to security.
Cybersecurity is only getting more critical, but unfortunately, no matter how many technologies and tools we put in place to prevent attacks, there is still the element of human error. Employees are ripe targets for hackers, and if workers aren’t properly trained on how to spot and prevent threats, it’s much more likely that they will get fooled one day. So start training your employees now and continually emphasize a commitment to cybersecurity.
To learn more about protecting you and your practice from cybersecurity threats, check out our eBook 3 Essential Types of Cybersecurity!