Cybersecurity and information security should be at the forefront of your risk management processes. Especially in this time of an ever-increasing remote and hybrid workforce, securing your systems, devices, and networks have never been more important. The goal is to foster an environment in which a robust security culture is important to all employees. This all begins with a focused and driven cybersecurity awareness training program.
Social engineering is the method of choice in most cyber attacks, and the resulting data breaches have cost corporations an average of nearly $10 million per breach in the United States. Since your employees are the attack vector, cybersecurity awareness is necessary at every level of every organization. Still, your program must be tailored to your operations and the particularized exposure of each role to be truly effective. This article will cover some information security best practices and tips for cybersecurity awareness training.
Operate in Reality
While cybersecurity is of critical importance, the reality is that unless your business is information or cyber security, the primary focus of your enterprise will never be that. The goal should be to relate how cybersecurity concerns apply to your business and profit goals and how they can affect business continuity. When employees understand why certain restrictions exist or the reason behind specific tasks, they are significantly more likely to comply with those rules.
If your security procedures make daily tasks more cumbersome or otherwise difficult, then it only increases the likelihood that employees will circumvent them or even outright ignore them. A central tenet of your awareness training should be detailing how each employee can impact your security posture regardless of their role. Additional training should be provided where the threat is greater, but we will get to that shortly.
The Process Begins with Onboarding
Starting with your onboarding process, you can emphasize to all employees that cybersecurity awareness is essential. From remote work and mobile device policies to password management, phishing attacks, removable media, and multifactor authentication, simply touching on these topics during initial onboarding for all staff, detailing expectations and policies, and explaining their importance can go a long way towards lowering your risks of a successful cyber attack. Whether you’re onboarding a new CFO or a janitorial staff member, cybersecurity awareness training begins on day one.
Ongoing Role-Based Training
As you progress with your cyber security training, you will get the best results by ensuring that your program is designed to address the specific threats each role in your organization will face. Executives, their assistants, and marketing, research, PR, and finance employees face heightened chances of being targeted by cybercriminals. As such, you should expend more time and effort to provide enhanced training to these employees instead of those who face less exposure.
These employees face the greatest risk from phishing and other social engineering scams. This is the perfect opportunity to implement training scenarios as a part of their enhanced awareness training. Phishing simulations and other realistic training not only give your employees a glimpse into what a cyber attack may look like but also help entrench the desired responses and actions taken when faced with those warning signs of a threat.
Lead From the Front
This tip is almost as important as starting with onboarding. Your team must see your leaders, executives, senior managers, and board members actively supporting your cybersecurity awareness training and embracing the practices. Simply paying lip service to the topics or failing to follow through will result in an uninvested and disinterested workforce. Executives, in particular, have an opportunity to participate in training modules led by subject matter experts that can pay dividends when it comes to junior personnel’s opinions on the seriousness with which cybersecurity is taken.
Eliminate Annual Cybersecurity Training
Did that catch your attention? Good. We are not recommending a one-and-done approach or a lack of ongoing training modules, but you want to avoid taking the approach of a large block of annual training to simply check a box. Break up your training modules into bite-sized pieces and distribute them throughout the year. Regulatory requirements notwithstanding, you should endeavor to make these blocks as interactive as possible and even simulate attempted attacks if you can work that into your training. Much like third-party risk assessments are periodically scheduled tasks but are also an ongoing process, you should view your security awareness training in the same manner.
Use Alternate Forms of Media
Don’t rely on emails or live meetings to tackle these important topics. Just like cybercriminals can use many attack vectors to gain access to your systems, you should embrace diversity in your method to try to impart security knowledge and train your employees. Posters, short videos, emails, and more are all quick and effective options for delivering various training segments. Bite-sized blurbs about good cyber hygiene practices can be posted throughout your office or even integrated into your internal sites, so remote workers don’t miss out on the reminders. Nothing should be off the table, and you should have feedback mechanisms to see what resonates best with your employees, especially those in high-risk positions.
By applying these tips for cybersecurity awareness training into your program, you can go a long way towards better securing your sensitive information and enhancing your security posture.
At Venture Lynk Risk Management, we understand your challenges in an ever-evolving and increasingly connected environment. We specialize in information security, operational, intellectual property, and third-party vendor risk management.
Our customized risk management services can provide everything from cyber risk assessments to due diligence and financial reports. We can accomplish this all from within your existing vendor management portal. Whether you are a small, medium, or large enterprise, we have the tools and experience to make your vendor management painless. Schedule a call today to learn how we can help improve your organization’s risk management posture.