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Cyber Security Strategy: 5 Critical Topics for Employee Training
Stay one step ahead of criminals with your cyber security strategy by including these topics in employee training.
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Long before your business releases its next adaptation to new technologies, cyber criminals will have already created new tactics to abuse and manipulate the internet to perpetrate scams. This means the need to educate and teach methods for safeguarding sensitive information has never been more critical.
To keep your staff vigilant and on the same page about the risks, procedures, and game plan to protect themselves and the company, your cyber security strategy must include regular employee training. Here, we investigate the most important things to include in your employee cyber security training to help your staff stay vigilant and protected.
1. Strong Passwords
One of the most effective ways of reducing cyber security risks is to consistently use strong passwords. If your company employs remote workers, this should be mandatory for all employee accounts used on personal and company devices.
Best Passwords for a Strong Cyber Security Strategy
Strong passwords should contain a mix of upper- and lower-case letters, numbers, and special characters, and be at least 12-14 characters long.
Employees should routinely change their passwords for their company email accounts, workplace social networks, and any other software or databases used in their roles. This significantly reduces the risk of hackers accessing sensitive information and being able to log into employee accounts.
How to Minimize Risks with Repeated Passwords
In many cases, people use the same or repeated credentials across multiple accounts because of the hassle of remembering them. However, this is a threat to your security program because it makes it easy for cybercriminals to breach other common accounts.
To protect sensitive data, implement security controls like password manager software. This will help minimize employee headaches of remembering different passwords for various sites and enable you to monitor employee cybersecurity practices.
2. Set Up Multi-Factor Authentication
Multi-factor authentication (MFA), sometimes known as two-factor authentication (2FA), also has a pivotal role to play. This is an added layer of security whereby platforms can confirm your identity and keep out any unauthorized users. Verification factors commonly used include a randomly generated pin number sent to a mobile device or email, and security questions about personal information.
In the age of remote working, MFA has become an even more valuable security tool for businesses. With employees given freedom to use company accounts wherever they decide to work, there is an added risk of hackers and cybercriminals accessing confidential information. Train your staff on the importance of MFA and how to utilize it to keep themselves and your company safe.
3. Identify Phishing Scams
Phishing scams work by sending emails to employee accounts that appear to be from legitimate colleagues, clients, or companies. They usually ask for personal information, or for the user to follow a link to verify their identity, confirm a transaction, or something else which would compel the employee to act.
Cyber Threats from Phishing
It’s estimated that a phishing attack occurs every 11 seconds, with threats crossing over from personal accounts, not just employee work accounts. But spotting a phishing email has become increasingly difficult to detect and takes a significant amount of time to resolve. In fact, this IBM Data Breach Action Guide reports that phishing attacks take an average 295 days to contain.
Cyber Security Strategy to Protect from Phishing
To help protect your employees and your company from threats of phishing, train your staff to question everything they see in an email as part of your security efforts. For example:
- Is the sender’s email address legitimate?
- Does your branding look accurate?
- Are attachments embedded?
- Is the subject line referencing anything out of sync with your company’s system?
- Hover above links to see where the link points: does anything look unreadable or unfriendly?
- Was this an unsolicited email requesting information? Pick up the phone and call the individual to confirm before clicking or responding.
4. Recognize Vishing Scams
Vishing, or voice phishing, is where a bad actor makes a convincing phone call to solicit personal information such as login credentials. Through social engineering and artificial intelligence (AI) tactics, victims can be tricked to believe they are talking to somebody with authority and are oftentimes threatened or rushed to quickly provide sensitive information.
Knowing and understanding the cyber threat landscape will help you proactively take security measures.
How to Minimize Security Threats from Vishing
Train employees to verify the caller’s identity by asking their name and details that are not easily found online. Make it company policy for an employee to call back anyone requiring sensitive data on a number already saved in your database.
5. Suspicious Activity Awareness
Despite the best cyber security strategies to identify and prevent fraud, hackers may still find a way to infiltrate your systems and install malware. Malware is used to steal valuable information and usually causes suspicious activity on devices, making it critical that employees be able to recognize the following signs of a security breach:
- New apps or programs appearing on devices
- Browsers redirecting to unwanted sites
- Slow or lagging activity on a device
- Loss of control of the keyboard or mouse
Along with prevention, an effective security strategy should include training every staff member on your company’s protocol if a crisis does occur. Explain how to respond, who to report suspicious activity to, and showcase real life examples to clarify procedures.
Also, be sure your cyber security strategy has a recovery plan in place. This includes data backups, methods to contain and eradicate viruses, the ability to change login credentials, and other security infrastructure.
Incorporate Regular Cyber Safety Training
As scammers become more sophisticated with their hacking tactics and other cyber threats, particularly with the use of AI, it’s important to stay up to date with the latest cyber security trends that highlight how cybercriminals are attempting to target businesses. Staying ahead of scammers with regular reminders and training sessions is your company’s best defense to protecting sensitive data.
For more information, please contact your certified HR expert. Not a current Stratus HR client? Book a free consultation and our team will contact you shortly.