7 Essential topics to cover in your cybersecurity awareness training program

7 Essential topics to cover in your cybersecurity awareness training program

Human error has been instrumental in the success of some of the biggest cybercrimes in history. It was even named one of the top threats to business security in 2021, alongside phishing, malware, and ransomware. But unlike external security threats over which you have little to no control, human error is an internal threat that you can eliminate.

One of the best ways to eliminate human error is to implement a comprehensive cybersecurity awareness program. This will allow you to correct employees’ poor cybersecurity behavior and equip them with skills to identify and handle threats that rely on human error to succeed.

If you’re planning to implement or improve your cybersecurity awareness training program, here are the seven critical topics to cover.

1. Phishing attacks

Phishers are now using more sophisticated techniques to get employees to divulge sensitive information or click on malicious attachments. In a business email compromise (BEC) attack, for instance, phishers research specific high-ranking individuals beforehand in order to create a believable attack that is very hard to distinguish from an authentic email. With phishing scammers becoming smarter by the minute, employees must be trained to identify the tactics modern phishers use, as well as how to handle and report such attacks.

2. Removable media

Employees sometimes use removable media such as USB sticks and SD cards to copy or transfer files from one device to another, but they may also unwittingly pass on malware or viruses in the process. To prevent this situation, dedicate a part of your cybersecurity awareness training sessions to helping employees understand the risks posed by removable media and teaching them how to mitigate these threats.

3. Passwords and authentication

Almost every work system, app, and device today requires passwords, making it a struggle for employees to remember all of their credentials. To overcome this challenge, employees tend to choose easy-to-guess combinations or reuse their passwords, both of which can compromise security.

This is why staff must be trained on how to properly secure their account, such as by using password generators and password management apps. They must also be trained on how to enable multifactor authentication when possible, especially for accounts that store sensitive data.

4. Mobile device security

Just like computers, mobile devices are prone to cyberthreats like malware and phishing. But because mobile devices are portable, they’re easily stolen or lost, posing other significant risks to your company. Include mobile device security in your cybersecurity awareness training to ensure that employees take particular care of their mobile devices and that confidential information is protected whether they're working inside or outside the office.

5. Remote working

Remote working, and more recently, hybrid working, have opened new opportunities for cybercriminals to exploit. Research shows that there is an increased threat landscape targeting remote workers. This is why it’s more critical than ever to equip your remote employees with the knowledge and skills that will allow them to contain manageable threats on their own.

Some topics to cover under remote working are:

  • Public Wi-Fi – Employees should know how to spot fake public Wi-Fi networks, which often pose as free Wi-Fi in coffee shops, to prevent man-in-the-middle attacks.
  • Encryption – Train your staff to use a virtual public network when connecting to your office network from a remote location. This will enable them to send and receive data securely through an encryption tunnel that scrambles information so it becomes unreadable to unauthorized users.
  • Social media use – There is nothing wrong with employees sharing their daily lives on social media. However, they should know how to protect the privacy settings of their accounts to prevent hackers from leveraging any information that can be used to launch a social engineering attack.

6. Backups

Security awareness programs shouldn’t just be about stopping attacks; they should also be geared toward safeguarding information in case an attack occurs. This is why every employee must know how and when to back up specific files. Having accurate, up-to-date, and complete backups helps ensure business continuity and prevent catastrophic data loss that could lead to financial loss, lawsuits, reputational damage, or even permanent business closure.

Related article: How to Prevent Your Data from Disappearing

7. Special instructions for handling sensitive information

Many industries such as healthcare and finance enforce strict compliance standards, so it’s essential for businesses in these fields to train their employees in handling protected information.

What’s considered protected information may vary from company to company, but these typically include personal data, trade secrets, and intellectual property. Without educating your staff on the requisites of ensuring data confidentiality, they are bound to make mistakes and compromise business security, which can result in noncompliance.

As cyberattacks become more sophisticated and individualized, it pays more than ever to have a vigilant workforce. Bolster your defenses by complementing your awareness training with EXponentially Better™️ cybersecurity solutions from XBASE Technologies. Drop us a line today.