In our digital world, cybersecurity must be a top priority for businesses, no matter how big or small they may be. Cybersecurity breaches can cause substantial losses for your business – customer trust, hefty financial losses, and even legal repercussions.
Although investing in the latest technology and software can help prevent cyber-attacks, employee training is crucial to mitigate human error. It might surprise you but 74% of all breaches involve the human element – making cybersecurity training essential for every employee in your organization.
In this blog, we’re sharing essential topics to include in your employee cybersecurity training. These topics will help your employees possess a solid understanding of potential treats and equip them with the best practices to maintain a high level of security awareness.
1. Understanding Cyber Threats
One of the foundational aspects of cybersecurity training is ensuring that all employees have a clear understanding of the various cyber threats they might encounter. When they're aware of the potential dangers, employees can be more vigilant and less likely to fall prey to these threats. Common forms of cyber threats include phishing and social engineering attacks, malware, and ransomware. Let's delve a little deeper into each of these threats and how one can guard against them.
Phishing and Social Engineering Attacks
Phishing and social engineering attacks have become increasingly sophisticated and difficult to detect, especially with the advancements of AI. These types of attacks are designed to exploit human psychology and trust.
A phishing attack typically takes the form of a malicious email that includes links or suspicious attachments. Providing employees with the five signs of phishing scams can help them recognize and thwart potential attacks.
Social engineering attacks are often more sophisticated than phishing attacks, involving a cybercriminal who manipulates an individual into bypassing security measures, usually by impersonating someone the individual may know, such as a coworker or authoritative figure.
Malware can bypass traditional antivirus software, making it essential for employees to know how to protect themselves and business devices from potential attacks. They should be familiar with the steps to take when installing software – with a managed IT service provider, such as Pact-One, this is a step your employees don’t have to worry about. Additionally, it’s important to help employees understand how to spot suspicious websites and programs that could potentially contain malware.
Ransomware is a type of malicious software that blocks access to a victim's computer system until a ransom is paid. Train your employees to recognize the signs of ransomware attacks, educate them on how to back up work regularly and how to report any suspicious activity to your IT support team.
2. Passwords and Multi-Factor Authentication
Considering that over 60% of data breaches can be traced to weak credentials, passwords and multi-factor authentication should be a paramount topic in your employee cybersecurity training.
Hackers often use password-guessing software to exploit weak passwords, such as birthdays, pet names, or simple words. Encourage your employees to create masterful passwords that contain a mix of numbers, letters, symbols, and be 8 characters or more.
Multi-factor authentication provides an additional layer of security by requiring more than one verification factor, such as a security token or biometric factor (fingerprint or facial scan). Ensure your employees are aware of multi-factor authentication and encourage its use to promote greater security in your organization.
3. Information Security
Maintaining the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of sensitive information is essential for every employee. Your employee cybersecurity training should cover the importance of securing important information, including confidential data, trade secrets, and personal identifiable information including names, addresses, and identities.
4. Internet and Social Media Use
Browsers are often the first point of contact when accessing the internet, which makes them a prime target for cybercriminals. Educate your employees about browser security issues, such as blocking pop-ups, clearing privacy settings, and avoiding untrusted websites.
Social media platforms, while providing convenient channels for communication and information sharing – through both personal and business use – can also be a hotbed for cyber threats. Employees often underestimate the potential risk associated with social media use, making it an imperative topic to cover in your cybersecurity training. Highlight the importance of setting robust privacy settings, being cautious about what information is shared online, and discerning between credible and suspicious links or requests. Remind them that hackers can obtain significant information from seemingly harmless posts or interactions.
5. Email Security
Email remains the primary mode of communication for most businesses, and hackers take advantage of this fact to launch email-based attacks or intercept confidential data during transit. Ensure your employees are well-versed in email security by covering topics such as email encryption, phishing emails, suspicious attachments, spam filters, and avoiding emailing sensitive information.
6. Removable Media
Do not overlook removable media, such as USB flash drives, SD cards, or external hard drives, when creating your employee cybersecurity training. By bypassing traditional security measures, removable media can pose a significant threat to your organization. Cover topics such as the importance of encrypted media devices and the practice of scanning these devices for malware before use. Lastly, it’s probably best to steer clear of allowing removable media in your business and opt for other solutions.
7. Public Wi-Fi
Public Wi-Fi can create a potential breach if not handled carefully. Train your employees on the dangers of public Wi-Fi and suggest precautions such as avoiding sensitive information over public Wi-Fi, using VPN to secure sensitive data and disabling auto-connect on their devices.
8. Mobile Device Protection
According to RSA, approximately 70% of online fraud is accomplished through mobile platforms. Many employees use their mobile devices to conduct business, which makes mobile security essential. Teach your employees to set a lock screen password, avoid connecting to public Wi-Fi, and keep their devices up-to-date.
In conclusion, we cannot overemphasize the importance of employee cybersecurity training in today's digital world. Alleviating human error reduces the likelihood of a data breach and mitigates your company's risk. Educate your employees on understanding cyber threats, passwords and multi-factor authentication, information security, internet and social media use, email security, removable media, public Wi-Fi, and mobile device protection. As an employer, it’s important to create an environment of trust where employees understand their role in keeping confidential data safe. By doing so, you can promote a culture of security awareness and reduce your organization's cybersecurity risk.
Let's make cybersecurity a priority, not an afterthought. With a robust cybersecurity program, you'll not only protect your business, but also empower your employees. Ready to take the next step and safeguard your business? Contact our expert team for tailored IT solutions and start building your defense against cyber threats today.
Valuable Cybersecurity Training Resources:
- Federal Trade Commission – Cybersecurity for Small Business: Cybersecurity quizzes, videos, and materials.
- Pact-One – How Your Employees Can Participate in Cybersecurity
- Pact-One – Cybersecurity Training for Employees
- Pact-One – 3 Essential Types of Cyber Security Your Practice Must Have: eBook for dental practices.