Employees play a fundamental role in keeping the corporate network safe. They are directly involved in using software, machinery, and work platforms linked to each other. With stronger cybersecurity tools available, hackers are exploiting human negligence and mistakes to access the IT infrastructure for criminal activities.
Therefore, it is imperative to raise cybersecurity awareness among your employees to protect your small business against cyber attacks. A corporate culture lacking in cyber security is a danger for itself and the companies that come into contact with it. A data breach can not only tarnish the image of your business but has the potential to destroy it. You can also end up paying millions of dollars in data breach compensation.
Tips to Spread a Culture of Effective Prevention
Cyberattacks on large corporations are rising, and even tiny firms are not immune. Organizations that are not well-prepared may become targets of such assaults as hackers utilize more sophisticated methods to conduct data breaches. By providing your staff with the knowledge they need regarding security hazards, how to recognize them, and how to securely handle them, security awareness training can aid in the elimination of these dangers.
Employee negligence and unawareness are considered the most likely causes of a cyberattack in the company. Therefore, a culture of training and teaching must be promoted. Here are some tips to make your employees aware of IT risks and to spread a culture of effective prevention.
1. Simulate a hacker attack
Phishing is the most common method that hackers use to access IT infrastructure. It involves sending emails to employees with harmful links in them. Most of the employees end up clicking those links considering that the email is made to look very harmless. This gives access to the hackers, who can then carry out their attacks successfully.
A mock phishing attack can be performed to test employees’ cybersecurity awareness in business. A simulation based on threats of this type is called a phishing test. It is an excellent way to make people understand the real threat to which they are subjected daily. The experiment consists of sending a phishing message to employees without warning and seeing how many fall victim to the “trap.” With this ploy, you can plan the training around the threat most appeals to your team.
2. Involve the managers in employee training programs
All departments in the business should be aligned for the effective execution of the cybersecurity training program. Therefore, the participation of managers and project leaders should be mandatory. When decision-making for the company’s annual costs, a budget should be set for the training activities. The annual costs for each operator involved and for each hardware and software used must be included in the budget. The risk of losing sensitive data and putting the business in deep legal and financial trouble is too high to be ignored.
3. Offer training courses
Your small business employees should attend regular training and refresher courses to stay updated about cyber-attacks and prevention techniques. In fact, just as it is important to update systems to fix vulnerabilities, it is equally essential to provide your employees with the right tools to face the threats they are subjected to. They should know the problem and avoid it before it does any harm.
4. Adopt the “’trust-none, verify all” mantra
Implementing the Zero Trust Architecture in your business offers strict access controls to data. It is based on ongoing identity verification for users accessing any application or server. Considering that the network endpoints are never in the same place for long, it is important to consider the Zero Trust endpoint security description by NordLayer. It recommends a holistic approach toward endpoint protection and security.
5. Hire a cybersecurity expert
In case your business deals with sensitive information, it is important to hire an expert who is a specialist in cybersecurity. The IT support and networking departments may not be capable of handling advanced cyberattacks. The job of these cybersecurity experts should be to devote themselves entirely to protecting and resolving problems that threaten the corporate network. You can use job search websites to hire specialists for your company.
Importance of Employee Cybersecurity Training
According to a report by the National Cyber Security Alliance of the United States, 60 percent of small businesses that have suffered a cyber attack failed in the following six months. The weakest link in a company’s cybersecurity is people. Too many companies underestimate the role and value of training employees.
Owners of small businesses need to be reminded that the first and best defenses are the users themselves. The lack of information and training on cyber security and prevention makes people highly vulnerable to threats. Lack of cybersecurity awareness among the employees is an organizational culture problem rather than a technical problem.
The complete cyber training program in an organization should include the training plan, the course programs, the final learning test, and the evaluation of test results. In the event of failure to provide training, heavy administrative fines should be imposed. The experts in cybersecurity have even suggested the government create cybersecurity investment tax credits for businesses to focus more on this issue.
Developing a Culture of Safety
By developing a proper safety culture, all employees can have the right awareness and skills to prevent cyberattacks. Unlike machines, human beings can be pushed to carry out actions that are harmful to themselves and the IT network in which they operate. Investing large budgets in IT infrastructure without proper training could be impractical.
Knowledge of information security must be understood as an investment in human resources, not a mere cost. Developing a culture of safety doesn’t consist of simply providing one-off training courses. In fact, all employees should receive adequate knowledge on the subject of cybersecurity before being able to access critical resources. They should be periodically updated on the evolution of threats.
Inevitably, designing and implementing an effective security awareness program takes time and effort. Self-protection training is essential to prevent people from falling into even the simplest and most obvious traps. It should be necessary for businesses to implement cybersecurity awareness in their training and development programs.