From the inside-out: 5 ways to keep employees more “cyber aware”

If the stats are correct, then you’ve probably been a victim of a malicious cyber threat — whether that threat came from inside an email, on a social media account, or as part of a big-business hack.

With all this hacking going on, security experts and IT providers are doing what they can to place a heavier emphasis on network security. But even with all this extra attention, people are still people. And it’s easy to become careless and expose sensitive information in the process.

This being said, your business needs to take action before it’s too late. Train your people how to avoid cyber threats and you can avoid the nasty consequences those threats come with.

Here’s where you should start.

Ban boring training

With a few exceptions, your staff members usually don’t want to undergo cybersecurity training. This is because it’s typically boring, and more oft than not, considered a cruel form of office punishment.

So what do you do?

You switch things up. Ditch the slide decks and inter-office newsletters, and partner with someone who can take your training to the next level.

Stage fake attacks

Speaking of next-level training, why not give your employees hands-on training?

These days, many companies are leveraging simulated cyber attacks to train their employees in the real world. If they fall for a phishing scam or download malware as a result of the simulated cyber attack, they aren’t penalized. Instead, they receive instructions about how they should have reacted.

Employees are also shown what damage their actions could have caused — which can be a real learning lesson if the damage could have equated to hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Monitor employee computers

This step may sound a little overbearing, but you need to ensure that unauthorized programs are not installed on your company’s computers.

In recent studies, employees have admitted to using unsafe computer practices, such as accessing their work accounts from unsecured, public WiFi connections. It was all for good intentions, but that doesn’t make it any less dangerous.

Monitoring doesn’t have to fall on the shoulders of your busy IT department. Managers can use quick computer inspections to keep everyone from downloading their favorite entertainment applications or visiting questionable sites.

See something, say something

Encourage employees to report any type of abnormal computer behavior — open up communication and make it easy for people to talk to each other.

For example, it’s easy for employees to overlook glitches and write them off as “not a big deal.” But that “not a big deal” can turn into a very large deal.

A computer malfunction typically won’t indicate a real cybersecurity threat, but your policy should be “better safe than sorry.” And if a simple glitch does turn out to be nothing, don’t forget to thank them for the tip. If you return their diligence with impatience, they probably won’t notify you of any issues in the future.

Passwords

Everyone knows they need to use strong passwords, but that doesn’t stop people from using the simplest options to speed up their login process. Many security breaches are caused by weak passwords — or at least, they could have been mitigated with stronger passwords.

However, despite this fact, experts say employees aren’t to blame. In the United States, the average person is expected to remember around 130 passwords — which is just one of the many reasons why employees tend to create simple passwords and use them across multiple accounts.

Simplify this process by giving employees advanced password management software. And don’t forget to reiterate the necessity for creating longer, more complex passwords (something that should definitely be integrated into your cybersecurity strategy).

 

Your company must be vigilant about cybersecurity. Investing in regular and engaging training, monitoring employee computers, and strengthening passwords are just a few things you can do to keep your employees more aware and your network more secure.