When the COVID-19 pandemic swept the globe, the corporate world was forced to adopt remote work models to keep their employees safe. Years later, remote and hybrid work schedules have become the norm, and businesses everywhere are still adapting—especially in the cybersecurity sphere.
While the benefits of remote working are numerous, it’s important to acknowledge that this kind of work environment makes businesses more susceptible to cyber threats. That doesn’t mean you should do away with remote work, however. It just means you may need to up your efforts when it comes to cybersecurity training for your employees.
Check out our top tips and best practices for cybersecurity training plus why it’s important to your organization in the first place.
The Importance of Cybersecurity Training for Employees
Cybersecurity training, or cybersecurity awareness training, is an education strategy used by security professionals to teach employees what cyber threats look like, how to identify them in the workplace, and what to do if they come across one. If done right, a cybersecurity training program will greatly reduce the risk of human error. This is a significant benefit since research shows that human error accounts for 82% of all data breaches.
Tips and Best Practices for Cybersecurity Training for Employees
Now that you know how an effective cybersecurity awareness program can help your organization, let’s review our top cybersecurity training best practices.
Include Cybersecurity in the Onboarding Process
Don’t wait to start training employees on cybersecurity; inform them of the part they play in protecting your company on day one. By doing so, you’re ensuring that your new hires are aware of the risks and protocols associated with their roles. Additionally, including cybersecurity training as part of the onboarding process is a great way to foster a strong security culture at your organization. It sets expectations up front and promotes good security-related habits (like VPN usage, regular password updates, what certain cyberattacks look like, etc.).
Cybersecurity training and exercises can be conducted internally with your in-house security professionals, but there are also tons of services out there to help you if your IT team lacks the time or resources. Some of the most popular cybersecurity training services include:
Conduct Mandatory Refresher Trainings
Including cybersecurity training in your IT onboarding checklist is vital for promoting good security habits at your organization, and it should be first on your list of cybersecurity training best practices. Maintaining a regular cybersecurity training schedule is equally important, however. Just as the threat landscape continuously evolves and breach attempts become more sophisticated, so must our knowledge of them. Providing quarterly or bi-annual cybersecurity refresher training can help your employees stay up to date on the latest security threats that could affect your business.
Open a Communication Channel Dedicated to Security
An active communication channel dedicated to cybersecurity provides a centralized, accessible source of information and advice on the latest best practices, security trends, and defense strategies. Plus, it can help you ensure that employees are up to date on protocol and doing their part between trainings. This can take the form of:
- Monthly newsletters
- Regular email blasts
- Company-wide video calls
- Or any other communication that works for your business
The important thing here is that your communication channel is active and updated regularly. Sending out one email in a six-month timeframe likely isn’t sufficient.
Orchestrate Mock Phishing Attacks and Other Exercises
Imperva defines phishing as a type of cyberattack used to steal user data such as login credentials or credit card information. It occurs when an attacker masquerades as a trusted entity and tricks their victim into clicking on a malicious link. This can look like a message from your company’s human resources department, or even an email from the CEO—an increasingly popular type of attack referred to as “executive impersonation”.
The good news, however, is that phishing emails and text messages have obvious tells if you know what to look for. Do your employees know how to spot the signs of a phishing attack? If you’re unsure, conducting a simulated phishing attack and other similar exercises is a great way to gauge your employees’ awareness of what breach attempts look like, how to respond to them, and which employees may need more education training on the topic.
Cybersecurity Awareness Training is Your Best Method of Defense
Cybercriminals are adopting increasingly sophisticated methods to access your organization’s sensitive data. One of your best lines of defense is providing cybersecurity training to all your employees. By implementing these cybersecurity training best practices and other important security measures, you’re decreasing your odds of experiencing a successful cyberattack.
But getting started on building an effective security awareness program can be tricky. If you’re unsure where to start, we can help you hire cybersecurity experts with knowledge, skills, and experience to do it for you.