As summer starts to come to a close and those beach towels get stored in attics for another year, there’s still a genuine danger. Hint: it isn’t sharks.
In fact, the summer months are the most dangerous for enterprises when it comes to cybersecurity. As crimes such as burglary increase in the summer, so too do cyber crimes, as malicious individuals take advantage of employees attempting to access unsecured wifi networks. On top of that, IT departments may be less able to respond to attacks promptly.
Because of this, it is more important than ever for employees to be safe, even when out of the office on vacation. I wrote recently on the value of a cybersecurity education program for enterprises but would like to go more into depth about the steps a company can take to get employees as engaged as possible with using company systems safely.
Don’t Make Training A One-Time Event.
Even if training is very well structured, a single course over an hour or two is unlikely to make a lasting impression. Some experts believe that even repeating this training on an annual basis is unlikely to have the desired effect.
It’s understandable that enterprises wouldn’t want to get locked into regular cybersecurity training, though erring on the side of caution is valuable for any organization. One happy medium is cybersecurity drills, in which false phishing emails are sent to employees. The company can then track how many people clicked on the email, and break down progress by the department. Other types of threats can also be simulated, monitoring progress between training sessions.
Give Employees The Responsibility.
Though every employee should be involved in good cyber practices, it helps if they have somebody to refer to on a moment-to-moment basis when in doubt. Specialized training for employees interested in learning cybersecurity can help an organization create liaisons if dedicated IT staff are not available. This saves companies the trouble of reevaluating IT staffing while expanding the knowledge base among employees.
Make Reporting Easy
Training is entirely pointless if employees do not feel comfortable reporting potential issues. Regardless of who investigates potential threats, it should be simple and easy for employees to flag them if a problem arises. An easily-accessed form can go a long way toward bridging the gap between these employees.
For that matter, it is also valuable to give IT staff education about how to talk to employees about cybersecurity issues. They may not get a good sense of the knowledge level of an average employee, or express their frustration if a colleague makes a mistake. An empathetic approach works best, in which they work to fix problems rather than scold employees for errors. This makes individuals much more willing to come forward with the issues they encounter.