5 Ways to Train Staff on the Importance of Better Cybersecurity Practices
Dakota Murphey

Data breaches are a common threat to businesses in today’s increasingly digital landscape, but one of the most effective ways that companies can protect themselves is actually via their staff. Hackers know that staff are often where organisations are most vulnerable, so maintaining regular training and education is key to prevention. Here are 5 ways that you can train your employees to adhere to better cybersecurity practices.

Ensure they’re aware of current threats

Cybersecurity training can be incredibly overwhelming, especially for those who are new to the topic. But a great first step is to update staff on the current threats they need to be aware of, so that they can learn how these vulnerabilities will impact the business. Some of the primary issues businesses are facing at the moment include hardware vulnerabilities, ransomware, data breaches that expose or compromise significant quantities of information, business emails and weak router security.

Don’t neglect mobile

Mobile management is key to developing better cybersecurity practices, something that Michael Cowley, Head of Presales at Redscan, agrees with: “mobile security often gets forgotten about. However, with more of us working remotely and using our own personal devices to access corporate information, its importance in 2021 shouldn’t be overlooked”. If the business doesn’t already have one in place, create a formal device management policy for mobile that highlights the importance of alphanumeric passwords, antivirus software and automatic software updates. Staff should also be aware of the threats to mobile devices, from malicious apps to smishing (mobile-specific phishing scams).

Get everyone involved

Cybersecurity practices will only be truly effective if everyone is involved, so treat cybersecurity training as mandatory. It needs to be a priority so all staff need to be compliant with the policies outlined by the organisation. From entry-level staff and interns through to senior members of the team, make sure that anyone using a computer is familiar with basic password security, safer internet browsing practices and understands the threats to be aware of. Where necessary, you can make the training department-specific, such as providing more in-depth training for IT professionals or educating higher-level executives on social engineering scams.

Create simulations for hands-on training

Being prepared for any eventuality is vital when it comes to preventing a data breach or being aware of an incoming scam attempt. Everyone can refrain from clicking a suspicious looking email, but what if the hacker impersonates an associate? Will staff know how to check for credentials to prove the email is genuine? On paper, it might seem like an obvious scenario, but in practice, people can behave very differently if they’re not fully prepared or are under pressure and not paying close enough attention. Simulation exercises can be great for this, as they can be based on past attacks and give employees the opportunity to deal with threats first-hand, which can make it easier to remember the details of what to do in the future.

Use a mix of content styles

As with all training, cybersecurity education needs to be flexible and suitable for every type of learner. In order to adhere to remote workers, in-house staff and different job roles, mixing up the types of content and training methods can be really effective. Online learning is ideal for adaptability and combines video training, real-world examples and articles to get the message across. You can also create infographics to train staff on topics that are easier to convey in simpler forms and can enable staff to use them as a reference point when they’re in need of a quick topic reminder. By creating a holistic training that uses different methods and styles, you can ensure that everyone is learning in a way that suits them and their requirements for greater efficiency.

Final thoughts

Cyberattacks are increasingly common and it could be only a matter of time before your organisation is targeted. With the right training and education in place, your staff will be better prepared to spot an attempted data breach or a threat, so that it can be prevented early on. Cybersecurity training needs to be an ongoing process that’s regularly updated and refreshed to accommodate different threats, but with a solid foundation, your employees will be better equipped to take on new information as time goes on.