How Should Employees Be Trained for Cyber Security?

Published on : 10 May 2022

How Should Employees Be Trained for Cyber Security

Cyber security risks have never been more apparent and costly. According to the survey data, the average cost to the U.S. organizations that experienced a cybersecurity breach in 2020 was approximately 8.64 million dollars per incident, up almost a half-million dollars from 2019.  Rates of cyber security attacks and identity theft have significantly increased and seem to be only becoming easier for hackers and cybercriminals. In today’s increasingly digital landscape, it is a matter of absolute necessity to train your company’s employees on the importance of cyber security. Implement a plan for teaching them the skills and practices they will need to keep both themselves and your organization as secure as possible.

Strategies for Upskilling Your Employees in Cyber Security

Equipping and training employees is definitely the need of the hour and putting this into practice can be complicated and may require a bit of legwork. Many company owners and executive leadership don’t know where to turn for solid cyber security advice and to learn the techniques and know-how of equipping. Here are a few of the best strategies for incorporating quality cyber security in your business and making sure all your employees are equipped to make savvy cyber security decisions.

Provide Training Sessions

Providing training sessions for your company’s employees can be one effective method of disseminating cyber security best practices throughout your organization. This can be accomplished in multiple ways. Bringing in an expert to deliver sessions is one way of providing this training. This could be a weekly course taught over a few weeks, a day-long seminar, or even just an hour-long introductory program delivered on your premises. This is often the best way to ensure your employees can attend and receive the information.  Alternatively, your company could provide off-campus access to training events and incentivize attending the training by offering professional development credit, a bonus, a gift card, or simply by requiring it and having managers or team leads oversee follow through.

Accommodate Different Learning Styles 

When choosing a training program you need to take into account the fact that different people or types of employees learn and absorb information in different ways. Some external training programs do an effective job of offering their material in a multi-faceted way to account for this, but some don’t. Do your homework and choose a training program that takes a varied teaching approach to help people with various learning styles that benefit equally from the information.

Train In-House or Hire a Cyber Security Manager

This is an alternative option that can be beneficial for companies or organizations that deal heavily in digital assets or sensitive information or experience a high-level cyber security threat. Some organizations opt to hire a cyber security expert to manage not only the employee training but the company’s digital security operations.  Providing an online cyber security Master’s degree for a current employee who can then take on some or all of these responsibilities can be an effective and cost-efficient method of bringing cyber security management in-house. Similarly, hiring a trained cyber security professional is an alternative solution to accomplish this.

Make Cyber Security Visible

Before rolling out a training program for your entire organization, hold training or information security sessions for your management or team leads to bringing them on board. Get their buy-in and feedback, and utilize their help in launching an effective program. Once the program is established, make sure cyber security practice continues to be mentioned and highlighted during the course of normal operations. Seeing the top management involved and prioritizing cyber security will automatically encourage employees to follow their footsteps. This is one way of ensuring that cyber security is embedded in the work culture of the organization and that employees take it seriously. 

Incorporate Cyber Security Modules into Onboarding

This is an important step to making sure that every member of your organization receives ground-level cyber security training before they become a part of the organization. This is also a good way of being updated and keeping the information and training current. Taking these steps can especially help avoid cyber security mishaps in the organization. By training each new hire before they receive access to the company’s systems, application, network, and data they must be aware of their roles and responsibility concerning cyber security.

Make Sure Every Department is Included 

Gone are the days when only certain employees or departments had access to online data systems. It is almost ubiquitous in this day and age that every single member of your organization will likely have – at a minimum – a company email address, login information to your HR or payment portal, and more. Breaches can often affect entire organizational databases and platforms because one employee was careless with their login credentials, or didn’t have an understanding of cyber security best practices. So, make sure you include all your organization’s employees when designing your company’s cyber security training program and involve every member when conducting the program.

Final Thought 

The risk of cyber security breaches can never be completely mitigated. However, with a strong cyber security program in place, the risk can to a great extent be averted. Proactively conducting training programs for employees and making them aware of the cyber security best practices and protocol, can help protect organizations and also significantly reduce the risk and level of threat exposure.

If you don’t have a robust plan in place already to train all your employees on cyber security, make it a priority to develop and implement one this year. Making cyber security a priority for your organization can help avoid costly breaches and keep your company, your customers, your employees, and all your stakeholders safe from cyber-attacks.

Narendra Sahoo
Narendra Sahoo

Narendra Sahoo (PCI QPA, PCI QSA, PCI SSF ASSESSOR, CISSP, CISA, CRISC, 27001 LA) is the Founder and Director of VISTA InfoSec, a global Information Security Consulting firm, based in the US, Singapore & India. Mr. Sahoo holds more than 25 years of experience in the IT Industry, with expertise in Information Risk Consulting, Assessment, & Compliance services. VISTA InfoSec specializes in Information Security audit, consulting and certification services which include GDPR, HIPAA, CCPA, NESA, MAS-TRM, PCI DSS Compliance & Audit, PCI PIN, SOC2 Compliance & Audit, PDPA, PDPB to name a few. The company has for years (since 2004) worked with organizations across the globe to address the Regulatory and Information Security challenges in their industry. VISTA InfoSec has been instrumental in helping top multinational companies achieve compliance and secure their IT infrastructure.