How to Build Cyber Security Awareness Among Employees?

Published on : 17 Mar 2022


How to Build Cyber Security Awareness Among Employees?

According to a PwC poll, the epidemic has increased the number of employees working from home to almost 70%. Remote working, however, has its own set of risks. Companies are vulnerable to a host of network attacks because of employee-owned devices, insecure connections, and inappropriate device usage. That is where cybersecurity awareness training for employees comes into the picture and plays a key role in preventing cyber attacks. Now there are several training centers available across India like Cybersecurity Training in Hyderabad where you can get trained in the Cybersecurity domain and upgrade professional knowledge with the necessary skill sets. But knowing what Cyber Security Awareness means and what kind of training is required for employees is essential. So, in the article today we have shared how organizations can build cyber security awareness among employees. 

How to Build Cyber Security Awareness among Employees?

Employees are seen as the weak connection in an organization when it comes to building and strengthening the cyber security measures in an organization. While an organization can implement advanced and highly sophisticated cyber security measures in its IT infrastructure, the security strength of the organization comes down to how well the employees are trained to deal with and prevent evolving cyber threats and attacks.

Employees are often the weak link to an organization’s critical infrastructure through whom the attackers obtain access to sensitive data, systems, and networks. This could be through phishing, ransomware and malware, and other social engineering tactics. So, to prevent such threats and risk exposure, cyber security awareness training among employees is crucial. Employees must strengthen the first line of defense within the organizations to protect against external threats. So, here are seven strategies to teach your remote workers about security best practices.

1. Understand What Cybersecurity Means

The first step in introducing cybersecurity education to employees is to communicate a clear message about what is going on in your firm in terms of cybersecurity. A message of this kind must be comprehensible, relatable, and diverse.

  • Comprehensible: Avoid using technical jargon, as it may cause employees to become confused and your message is clouded. When feasible, utilize simple language that is comprehensible to non-technical people.
  • Relatable: When discussing external dangers, focus on personal computer security and home network infiltration rather than the central network. Employees will be able to relate to the threat if it is presented in terms of their laptop or phone. This gives individuals a personal investment in the security strategy: no one needs to be the cause of a data breach that affects the entire organization.
  • Diversified: It is conceivable that a single email summarizing everything won’t suffice. Consider the number of emails each employee receives daily. You could ensure that all employees read the message instead of rejecting it as just another announcement by diversifying your communication plan.

2. Recommend Using Your Devices with Extreme Caution

According to a Forrester report, lost or missing devices are responsible for 15% of enterprise breaches. Training your staff about cybersecurity includes making them aware that their device serves as a doorway to your organization’s network, whether it’s a personal or corporate device. This emphasizes the importance of properly caring for and using their technology, especially when they are at home.

Execute the following to help encourage excellent device ownership:

  • Demonstrate the distinction between personal and business use.
  • Make having a work account that is subject to monitoring, prohibited installations, and web filtering a must.
  • Beware of old-fashioned theft and loss.
  • Ensure that security patches and operating system updates are applied.

By automating push notifications and tracking the device’s state and the location at all times, a device monitoring and management solution like our Multi-OS Device Remote Management can help limit risk. However, this must only be used as a backup, and the employee must be responsible for end-user security best practices.

3. Teach Your Employees How To Recognize Suspicious Behavior

Enhance your employee’s ability to notice suspicious activity and raise their cybersecurity knowledge by teaching them to look out for the subsequent signs:

  • New apps or applications arrive unexpectedly on their smartphones.
  • Strange pop-ups appear at start-up, while normal functioning, or right before closure.
  • The device starts to slow down.
  • Tabs or new extensions or in a browser.
  • Control of the keyboard or mouse is lost.

Encourage your staff to promptly report any suspicious symptoms. Even when it turns out to be a false alert, the employee may benefit from it since it corrects problems in their gadget that are causing them to be less productive.

4. Reinforcing the Confidentiality

People who work from home are more likely to be complacent, which extends to cybersecurity. Even when they work in their PJs, teach them the value of authentication and passwords. Security does not have to be compromised just because they are relaxed.

To protect your company’s data from cyber-threats, undertake the following training sessions with your employees:

  • Change your passwords regularly and in a unique way.
  • Use real-world examples from previous data breaches to teach staff about the risks of using universal passwords. They may also want to check to see if any of their account credentials have been pawned.
  • Discuss why authentication with several factors, VPNs, and other secure log-on processes are vital, even though they are time-saving.
  • Give concrete examples of stolen data events caused by an errant flash drive or a hacked personal Dropbox account to combat unsecured data storage of company data.

5. Study Individual Cybersecurity Breach Cases

Unlike in an office with a managed network, the security of your employee’s personal computers can differ tremendously. Some people would connect using their home Wi-Fi, while others will use public Wi-Fi at a coffee shop.

Some people may have outdated devices that are not supported by security patches, thus it may be required to address those issues by:

  • Encourage staff to use the devices given by the company. Verify the device brand and model year if it’s BYOD to determine if there are any outstanding exploits.
  • Conduct a security audit of your home networks. A few older routers, for instance, may use the weaker WEP protocol instead of WPA-2, but some might use the default password!
  • Pay special attention to nomad employees and create a security policy for them, as roaming data and public Wi-Fi hotspots pose unique risks.

6. Utilize Cybersecurity Courses Available Online

If it comes to cybersecurity awareness training for employees, there are a plethora of free internet materials available.

For management:

  • Small enterprise owners and executives will find instructional tools on the FTC website. There are also cybersecurity quizzes to put what you’ve learned to the test.
  • The Department of Homeland Security’s cyberdefense learning toolkit is geared toward small business owners.
  • The 20-step organizational control program from the Center for Internet Security teaches good cyber defense habits, detects suspicious behavior, and creates a skills gap analysis.
  • The Federal Virtual Training Environment offers a thorough 6-hour course separated into 30 modules for managers.

For employees:

  • Quizzes, short courses, webinars, and certification are among the free and low-cost online training options available from the National Institute of Technology and Standards.
  • The National Cybersecurity Alliance’s webinar series begins in November 2019 and ends in November 2020, with one video released every other month.
  • ESET provides a free one-hour training course on remote employee best practices. The commercial edition adds a dashboard to monitor employee progress, as well as a phishing simulator, certification, and Linkedin badges.
  • The IS-0906 workplace security awareness course from FEMA is only one hour long and covers risks, prevention strategies, and responsive actions for remote workers.

7. Make the Conversation on Cybersecurity Awareness an Ongoing

Corporate employees spend up to a quarter of their working day on email-related activities on average. A one-shot email message regarding cybersecurity is therefore a poor choice, as they might not have been able to grasp the importance or assimilate the material in one session.

Following are some guidelines to follow while making a cybersecurity notification to your employees:

  • Use various methods to educate people about cybersecurity, like regular announcements and newsletter updates.
  • Follow the KISS rule for every update: Keep It Simple and Short. This allows them to absorb the lesson and retain it during their busy day.
  • Keep up with the latest trends. Make sure your members are aware of any new crypto-malware or exploits that might cause phones to crash with a single message.
  • Each time, use eye-catching strategies to get them to pay attention to the message. Use beautiful infographics rather than dry stats or do’s and don’ts. Try a video presentation for longer topics.
  • You can also take cybersecurity tests to determine how well the concepts have stuck with you. HP, for instance, sends out phishing test emails as part of its email security training and applauds employees who report them to IT.

Conclusion:

The cybersecurity awareness training for employees enables them to comprehend how they contribute to the protection of your firm. They are the first line of defense against external threats, instead of being just another cog in the organization’s wheel. Encourage vigilance and strong cybersecurity knowledge, and they’ll be able to take it with them far beyond the office, even when things have returned to normal.

 

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.