Cyber threats are consistently evolving, and despite what small- and medium-sized business owners may think, they are prominent targets. Hackers can cause enormous financial losses that place the success of your entire business at risk, demanding an all-inclusive cybersecurity strategy. However, the best cybersecurity defense will fail if you haven’t managed what should be your top priority: employees. Without proper training and awareness, employees are your biggest threat. But with the right strategy in place, employees can also be your strongest cybersecurity defense against cybercriminals.
Mandate Training for all Employees
Every person within your organization should receive cybersecurity training and be made aware of all security policies, from C-level executives to entry-level staff. This is particularly important when employees are accessing time sheets or work email accounts on personal devices. A personal device could be the entryway that a hacker needs to access critical company systems, because most of these devices do not meet security protocols. Awareness of strict security policies will prevent mistakes and deter fraudulent activity from insider threats.
Ransomware is Intelligent
Training is an essential component of a strong cybersecurity defense involving employees, because many hacking attempts are becoming increasingly sophisticated. It can be hard to differentiate fraudulent access points or requests, and a single click can wreak havoc on your infrastructure. Education, and relaying the importance of cybersecurity information, is how you can build a strong defense against hackers.
Threats Are Avoided Entirely
When employees are routinely trained, they are more likely to identify suspicious activities and prevent breaches altogether. If a hacker does gain access to your infrastructure, employees working within the system can prevent further damage. Your employees will also think twice about clicking on links within emails and will be less likely to open attachments that could contain ransomware. Onboarding is an excellent opportunity to disseminate information regarding current and emerging threats, and ongoing cybersecurity training should update employees on anything new.
Key Elements of Training
Despite the push for initial and continued training, many businesses aren’t sure where to start. Luckily, the initiatives that can establish a robust cybersecurity strategy are simple and easy to implement. Communication should be where you start, encouraging employees to discuss concerns and ask questions if they notice anything awry. Employees must also be aware of common threats and where they are most likely to encounter phishing attempts or malware. Clear guidelines and standards will also make it difficult for breaches to occur. When all employees are aware of the existing policies and are held responsible for security within the scope of their positions, threats are greatly reduced.
Employees may feel frustrated by some security standards, such as password strength and multi-factor authentication, but these strategies protect employee and business information. When education is provided, employees become a partner in your overall cybersecurity efforts. Your greatest weakness can also be your greatest strength, if you invest the necessary time and resources on educating your employees.
The ITeam understands the cybersecurity issues facing Canada. We are committed to helping Calgary- and Alberta-based businesses develop proactive, cost-effective IT strategies that minimize risk and maximize efficiency. Contact us to learn more.