Many people don’t take their digital security as seriously as they should. Bad habits, such as reusing passwords or failing to protect mobile devices with something as simple as a PIN code, are ubiquitous. Given the value of data in your organization and the fact that small businesses are a favorite target for hackers, you cannot afford to let these habits enter the workplace too.
Much like a bad worker blames his tools for a poor job, technology often gets the blame when a cyberattack occurs. However, humans have proven time and again to be the weakest link when it comes to cybersecurity. After all, a data security policy is only a piece of paper unless your employees understand it and why it exists. This is why security awareness training is crucial in the workplace.
Here are five tips every cybersecurity training program should follow:
#1. Make It Mandatory
It only takes one foolish error to leave a mission-critical system open to a disastrous data breach. While any robust cybersecurity training program will include several wide-reaching policies, the most important thing is that it must be compulsory for everyone in your organization. This is especially the case for companies with a bring-your-own-device (BYOD) policy, in which employees enrolling in the program will need to agree to and, more importantly, understand your security policies.
#2. Make It Relevant
A common mistake many companies make is taking an academic approach to security awareness training rather than make it relevant and down-to-earth. You need to hit close to home to get employees to focus on themselves and their actions, rather than trying to get them to focus only on the risks and consequences facing the company. Remember that cybersecurity concerns everyone who uses the internet, so you’ll be doing them a favour too by teaching them to be more aware of the risks.
#3. Make It Real
Security awareness training must take a practical, hands-on approach that includes real-world examples and simulations. This will also help you focus on the crucial ties between data breaches and human error. For example, you can conduct simulated phishing scams to test employees and help them better identify suspicious activities. If all you have to show are things like statistics and scare tactics, you won’t make a meaningful connection with your employees regarding these critical matters.
#4. Make It Regular
New devices bring new threats almost as often as old and outdated devices fall victim to unpatched vulnerabilities. Social engineering tactics are also constantly changing to exploit higher-value targets. It’s the ever-changing nature of the threat landscape which requires an ongoing awareness training strategy that adapts to the times. For best results, you’ll want to provide training for every employee at least twice per year and onboard new ones as soon as they join your team.
#5. Make It Fun
There are two main reasons why the average person has developed poor security habits – they don’t believe they’re potential victims or they simply can’t be bothered. Even though many wouldn’t consider cybersecurity to be a glamorous subject, that doesn’t mean your training has to be boring. Aside from making it relevant, you can also integrate gamification into the program by using things like achievement points and badges to reward participants with recognition for their progress. A little creativity can go a long way towards getting employees engaged, not just when it comes to digital security, but also in every other business operation.
For over 30 years, XBASE has been helping businesses in and around Toronto with reliable IT support and cutting-edge technology. If you’re ready to digitally transform your company, give us a call today.