Organisations are not training their workers for cybersecurity risks.  Without ‘Cybersecurity Employee Preparation’ workers don’t know how to recognise a security threat they cannot be expected to avoid it, to report it or remove it. An organisation may have firewalls and security software, but it’s just not enough. As employees, not technology, are the most common entry points for phishers.  Unless  your organisations’ employees have participated in cybersecurity training programs, as humans employees are liable to make mistakes, be trusting of fake identities, tempted by clickbait, and vulnerable to tactics used by cyber criminals to gain access to company information.  


The rise in cyber threats directly is proof of employees lack of cybersecurity employee preparation and training. So give your employees cybersecurity training to protect themselves and the organisation against cyber attacks. If you make employees aware of security threats, how they might be presented, and what procedures to follow when a threat is identified, you’re strengthening the most vulnerable points in your organisation.



Employee Preparation Through Cyber Security Training

Employees need to know the risk their online activities pose and how to manage it, without being rendered unproductive by overly complex procedures. The the most important topics your cybersecurity employee preparation and training should include are:


Forms of cybersecurity threats

Giving employees  a basic education in the different ways that cybersecurity threats can present themselves will enable employees to spot and prevent security breaches.  Most likely this will include spam, phishing, malware and ransomware, and social engineering.  Cybersecurity training videos can be used to help employees identify spam content that could be hiding malicious software such as email, as can social media messages and invitations.


Phishing training using examples of real phishing scams will help employees understand what a falsified email might look like, who it might come from, and what kind of information it might ask for. Usually, these emails request usernames, passwords, personal information or financial information that allow criminals to access company programs or steal money.


Educate your employees by giving cybersecurity tips for employees who might be tricked into downloading malware or ransomware. Malware is any virus or other software that attacks and damages the functionality of a device. Ransomware leverages a company’s website or other platforms to extort money from a third party. Both are major threats to any organisation.


Social engineering should also be a mandatory topic in security awareness training for employees. Social engineers disguise themselves with fake but trusted online identities, and then trick your employees into handing over information that they shouldn’t.


Password security

Employees need passwords for unlocking their devices, for logging into their accounts, and for every work-related application. There are so many to remember, so many people set generic passwords that are easily revealed. Hence online cybersecurity awareness training should help employees understand how important passwords are.


Passwords are the first line of protection to keep sensitive information safe and hackers out of your system.  Show employees how to set strong passwords that incorporate a combination of letters, numbers, and symbols.


Policies for email, internet, and social media

An organisation can be left wide open to malicious software, which attacks company applications and social accounts, steals information, and possibly even money, by the email and browsing habits of employees. Cybersecurity training for employees in your organisation must crucially include policies and guidelines for using email, internet, and social media.  A culture that encourages personal responsibility should be combined with an up-to-date IT policy.  Policies on strong password practices, application usage, and a list of approved websites, services, software and applications should be integral to any IT policy.


Policies will be implemented on the types of links that can be clicked on, and those that shouldn’t. For example, not clicking suspicious links from unknown people or organisations, links contained in unexpected emails, and links that have been flagged as untrustworthy by your antivirus program.  Also a policy setting out the rules for internet browsing and social media usage on the organisations’ devices, and for using the organisations’ email addresses.


Protecting company data

All organisations must have policies on the protection of data, but  all employees will not necessarily be aware of these policies, or even if they are aware, understand them. Information security training for new employees should explain the regulatory and legal obligations of data protection. Regular refresher courses so that all employees are up to date on the rules and policies around data protection, even when they change, should also be given. Employees can learn how to handle their records and how to exchange them safely. They must be able to detect problems that might suggest something is wrong.


Identifying and reporting cybersecurity threats

Employees are your eyes and ears on the ground. Every device they use, email they receive and program they open may contain clues about a lurking virus, phishing scam or password hack. But, to really mobilize your employees as a force against attacks, you’ll need cybersecurity awareness training for all employees.  Applications made by third parties are one of the most important causes of data theft and destruction. Employees should be guided to use only licensed program packages.


Use cybersecurity training to help employees become aware of unexplained errors, spam content, and legitimate antivirus warnings. Then, educate them on the process they should follow to report these red flags, as well as the right people to talk to about suspicions of a cyber attack.


Cybersecurity training for new employees

The purpose of cybersecurity employee preparation and training is to alter their habits and behaviours, and create a sense of shared accountability, so that the company is safe from attacks.  Creating awareness about online security threats needs to start on induction. Incorporate cybersecurity training into your induction program, and make sure that it covers all of the most important topics. Incorporating policies and rules about data protection and internet usage into an employee handbook can help, too.


By starting at employee induction you’ll show new employees that the company cares just as much about cybersecurity as it does for job duties and strategy. As a result, they’ll understand the importance of careful online behaviour from their first day of work.


Give training regularly

Make sure to offer cybersecurity training to employees often, and give opportunities for practicing safe online behaviours in between. Continuous training will also allow you to incorporate policy changes and information about the latest scams into your training. Much like technology, cybersecurity is continuously evolving, and staying up to date could be the difference between keeping your organisation safe or not.


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