As cybersecurity-related topics are hitting the news on an almost daily basis, companies across industries are scrambling to secure their data, improve their protocols, and implement new software. Considering the damage that a security breach can do to especially small businesses, these steps are certainly understandable. At the same time, comprehensive protection of your data starts much earlier in the process.
In fact, security awareness among your end users may be the single most important step you can take to keep your business, the data it stores, and the entirety of its technical infrastructure safe. If your end users know how to follow the right protocols, and protect the information they work with on a daily basis, your chance of a breach decreases drastically. More specifically, here are 5 steps you can take to enhance security awareness within your company.
1) Involve Everyone in Basic Security Training
First, every employee in your company should be engaged in training sessions that emphasize simple security measures. That includes not only your front line teams, but also members of the organization who only indirectly touches personal data within your systems, such as top-level management.
Ideally, basic security awareness training becomes a part of your new employee onboarding efforts. In addition, regular sessions around the year refresh knowledge for existing employees, and provide updates of new protocols as needed.
2) Send Regular Updates With Security Suggestions
Speaking of regular updates: it also makes sense to establish a regular channel of communication, known by everyone within the organization, that deals with cyber security. This channel, most likely email or a digital bulletin board, can provide regular tips on how to improve data security.
It can also be used as an outlet to share new potential phishing efforts that might hit your company. Once the channel itself is established, regularly remind everyone within the company to check it regularly.
3) Foster an Understanding of Human-Related Security Issues
Not all cyber security is technical. Some is as simple as forgetting to change your password, or clicking on a suspicious email link. In fact, this type of human error is the cause for almost 90 percent of cyber attacks today.
Part of your responsibility in generating security awareness is making sure that your team is aware of this component. Your training should include these types of components, making sure that everyone knows responsibility lies with the end user.
4) Customize Training to Fit Each Employee Group
Depending on the size of your business, this step may or may not be relevant. However, especially as departments develop inherently different responsibilities, customizing security training to fit their needs becomes increasingly valuable.
For instance, it makes sense to provide your data processors with slightly different training than sales staff, who extracts that information. The basic tenants can be the same, but the nuances can make each training session more relevant and engaging for the group involved.
5) Establish Clear-Cut Breach Awareness and Reaction Protocols
Finally, most businesses know about the importance of developing protocols that deal with managing an individual breach. However, the communication of these protocols to each employee can become just as important.
Think of it as the virtual equivalent of a fire drill. Here, even those people not involved in its planning need to know exactly how to react, what to report, and where to go. Protocols, in other words, are only as valuable as their communication to everyone in your company.
Depending on your internal capabilities, you may be able to provide this type of training and strategic awareness building in house. If not, it makes sense to work with an IT provider who offers specialized cyber security training to companies like yours. Contact us to learn about our services, and how we can help you set the baseline of your data security efforts.