Building a strong cybersecurity foundation requires more than advanced tools and experienced IT professionals. It requires informed, consistent cybersecurity awareness among every employee in your organization. In the spirit of October, National Cybersecurity Awareness Month, this blog will explore a fundamental hallmark of every effective cybersecurity solution — staff cybersecurity training.
The Weakest Link
The weakest link in the cybersecurity chain is human error. Regardless of their role, all employees can unknowingly become the gateway for cybercriminals. Cybersecurity training equips employees with the knowledge and skills to identify potential threats and, ultimately, guard against cyber threats.
Threat #1: Phishing Scams
Social engineering attacks, such as phishing and spear phishing, are among the most prevalent and effective methods used by cybercriminals. These attacks work by impersonating trusted entities, such as banks, social media platforms or online retailers and tricking employees into revealing confidential information or downloading malicious attachments. Through cybersecurity training, employees can learn to recognize social engineering red flags. Cyber-trained employees err on the side of caution and look out for:
- Slight variations or misspellings in the sender’s email address or domain
- Urgent or suspicious requests for personal or financial information
- Generic greetings, poorly written content and grammar or spelling errors
- Illegitimate hyperlinks
- Messaging that sounds off or too good to be true
The Power of Strong Passwords
Strong passwords are vital to maintaining cybersecurity awareness. Give your employees the training they need to create unique, complex and memorable passwords for their online accounts. Password requirements can vary based on the application, but a few industry dos and don’ts are:
- DO include a combination of upper and lower-case letters, numbers and special characters.
- DON’T use easily guessable information like your name, birthdate or common dictionary words.
- DO aim for a password length of at least 12 characters.
- DON’T use the same password across multiple accounts.
- Cover Safe Browsing Habits
Developing a strong cybersecurity awareness involves understanding the potential risks and threats that exist all over the digital landscape, including the internet. When browsing the internet, these are best practices every employee should keep in mind:
- Use secure and up-to-date web browsers with built-in phishing and malware protection.
- Avoid clicking on suspicious links or downloading files from untrusted sources.
- Be cautious while sharing personal information online.
- Regularly update your passwords.
Share the Risks
The repercussions of a data breach can be detrimental. Discuss the significance of data protection and the potential consequences of data breaches. As you train your staff to understand and recognize cyber threats like phishing, emphasize the risks these threats pose. Be candid about the financial, reputational and legal consequences a successful cyberattack can have on a business and the associated ripple effects.
Everyone Has a Role to Play
Finally, highlight that every employee plays a crucial role in maintaining cybersecurity. Foster a culture of security awareness where employees are educated, engaged and accountable for their actions. Explain the importance of recognizing a phishing scam, creating strong passwords and securely browsing the internet.
Need Help Managing Your Cybersecurity Training?
Cybersecurity awareness is critical to running a successful business in the digital age. If you need guidance around implementing a staff training program or incorporating tools like multifactor authentication, we can help. Universal Data specializes in expert IT support and services in Cybersecurity, Managed IT Services and IT Projects.