Contrary to popular belief, cybersecurity incidents often aren't the work of highly sophisticated hacking techniques alone, but rather, they are due to simple mistakes like weak passwords or clicking on malicious links. This means cybersecurity is not just the sole responsibility of the IT department or security experts; it concerns every employee in an organization.
Unfortunately, many employees find cybersecurity protocols and practices to be too complex and overwhelming, leading them to ignore or circumvent them in pursuit of convenience and efficiency. To ensure employees are taking cybersecurity seriously, it is crucial to make it approachable and user-friendly for them. Here’s how you can achieve that:
Conduct thorough risk assessments
Before implementing new cybersecurity measures and practices, you need to conduct risk assessments to understand the specific vulnerabilities your organization faces. For all you know, your current protocols, such as unnecessary password change or complex data backup processes, may be creating more obstacles for employees. You may also find security practices that are less than optimal, such as keeping sensitive data on unsecured servers.
Once you've identified the risks, you can report them in a clear and concise manner to your employees, making it easier for them to understand the importance of following cybersecurity protocols.
Implement solutions to simplify cybersecurity practices
Bad cybersecurity habits tend to rear their ugly heads when there are no systems to promote secure practices. For instance, without a password manager, employees are more likely to use generic passwords across all their accounts for convenience's sake. Password managers essentially serve as a guard rail for employees, preventing them from choosing weak passwords and making it easier to update their passwords.
It's not just passwords that can be simplified with the right solutions. Companies can leverage the following tools to reduce the complexity of cybersecurity practices for employees:
- Patch management – This tool keeps track of software updates and deploys them automatically to all devices connected to the network. This removes the responsibility of manual updates from employees and ensures that vulnerabilities are addressed promptly.
- Email filtering software – Employees who frequently encounter fraudulent emails are more likely to make mistakes and accidentally click on malicious links or attachments. Email filtering software can reduce the risk of employees falling victim to these attacks by blocking incoming spam and phishing attempts.
- Data loss prevention (DLP) software – DLP software can prevent accidental data leaks and ensure sensitive information is properly encrypted. It can also assist in identifying employees who may need additional training in handling confidential data.
- Access management – Abuse of access privileges typically occur when employees have more access than necessary or when their credentials are compromised. By implementing an access management system, companies can limit employee access to only what is essential for their role.
- Automated backups – Regular backups are essential for data recovery in case of a cyberattack. By automating this process, employees don't have to worry about manually backing up their data, reducing the risk of human error or corrupted backups.
Provide engaging security awareness training
Even with advanced cybersecurity solutions in place, careless employees can still completely undermine the system's effectiveness. Companies therefore need to invest in comprehensive security awareness training to stay up to date with the latest threats and best practices. The training program should cover various security issues such as password hygiene, phishing and social engineering risks, data sharing protocols, and safe device usage.
However, the delivery of the training is just as important as the content itself. Traditional, lecture-style training can be dull and ineffective in engaging employees, and makes cybersecurity seem like a chore. Instead, make use of multimedia content, interactive modules, and real-life examples to drive home the importance of cybersecurity. You should also conduct phishing simulations to test employees' knowledge and expose them to potential threats in a controlled environment.
Encourage a culture of cybersecurity
Creating a user-friendly and approachable cybersecurity environment also requires fostering a culture of security within the organization. This can be achieved through various initiatives such as:
- Acknowledging employees who consistently follow protocols and report any suspicious activity to reinforce the importance of cybersecurity within the company
- Having discussions on security in team meetings, newsletters, and other communications to keep it top-of-mind for employees
- Offering incentives for employees who complete security awareness training and demonstrate good cybersecurity practices
- Leading by example and ensuring that company leaders also adhere to security protocols
Review and update security practices
Cybersecurity is a dynamic field, with new threats emerging regularly. That's why it's vital to regularly review and update security strategies, practices, and policies to stay current. Include employees in this process, soliciting their feedback and insights on what's working and what isn't. By involving employees in shaping the organization's cybersecurity practices, you create a sense of ownership and responsibility among them.
If you want your employees to follow cybersecurity best practices, then you need to provide them with the right tools, training, and environment. XBASE Technologies can help you with implementing effective cybersecurity solutions and providing engaging training programs to foster a culture of security within your organization. Contact us today to learn more.