Data breaches are becoming more frequent and deadlier by the day. News of companies losing a lot of data to cyber criminals is now commonplace. This has forced many companies to invest heavily into ensuring that they have the most sophisticated security systems in place.
But what a lot of people in these companies do not understand is that cybersecurity goes beyond gigantic security systems. The focus should not merely be on giving hackers a hard time. In fact, most data breaches have more to do with people on the inside than those behind malicious computer code.
That is why having a solid cybersecurity policy should be the first step towards protecting yourself. But the problem is, not everyone in your company understand the ins and outs of cybersecurity. Many of your employees probably don’t know what a malware or a virus is.
And this is why training every one of your employee on the concepts of cybersecurity is a vital measure. Although many organizations appreciate the importance of employee training on cybersecurity, most have no idea how to go about it. Developing an effective and actionable training program in not an easy task.
That is why I have compiled the following tips to help you develop a training program that works.
1. Appreciate that all privacy starts with the employees.
You can invest in all the latest and most sophisticated security systems there are. You can install a powerful VPN or intrusion detection technology. But if your employees don’t care about this things, they are almost useless.
It is up to you to tell and show them why what you are doing is crucial to the organization’s data security. Make them understand that they are at the core of that security and should be responsible for upholding it. If you can’t appreciate the role of employees in cyber security, no amount of training will make them care.
2. Make it personal
More often than not, employees tend to think that security breaches are more about the company than they are about them. For your cybersecurity training to work therefore, you need to hit close to home. Instead of ranting on about cyber security in general and how it will affect the company if they don’t participate, you need to let them see that they will be affected too.
Employees will care more if they think a data breach is going to affect them too. But if you make it all about the company they will yawn and doze off throughout the training.
You can also give them tips on how to protect themselves while at home. This way, you will be showing them that you care about their security too and not just that of the organization.
3. Develop actionable training steps
Training employees is one thing but getting them to implement that training is another thing. The lack of motivation to put what was taught into action often stems from lack of actionable steps in the training.
Trust me, a cybersecurity lesson is a boring one and within a week, most of your employees would have forgotten what they learnt. To create a long term impact, you need to make it easy for the employees to implement the training.
To do this, you need to make it clear what employees should do or not do in different scenarios. A frequent follow up would do good to ensure that those tips remain fresh in their minds.
4. Make the training mandatory.
Like I mentioned above, cyber security lessons are boring. If you don’t make it clear in your policies that the training is mandatory, most employees are going to take it for granted.
If employees- who are the weakest links in the company- take the training for granted, it is going to be huge failure. Come up with polices unique to cyber security awareness that clearly point out the need for every employee to be a participant.
To give it a touch of seriousness, your HR team should inform new hires of the cyber security policies and why it is mandatory in your organization.
5. Re-evaluate your program every 90 days.
Information overload is one of the reasons why most of these trainings don’t work. The moment you start teaching everything at the same time, the training would have failed.
You can focus on say, three or two topics at a time in 90 days. At the end of the three months, you can evaluate the program to see if it is working as intended. If it is not, revise it accordingly.
6. Make the training regular
As an organization, most of your energy is probably directed towards ensuring growth and scalability. A cyber security training would be a bother and you believe one or two are enough. But cyber criminals don’t understand that you are working hard to grow. They will hit and take what they want.
That is why regular training is important. As I mentioned earlier, most of your employees don’t care about the company’s cyber security. Scarce training will even make them care less.
But if you make the training regular and more focused, employees will begin appreciating the fact that you are serious and they ought to be too. Make them aware of new threats and new ways to protect themselves and the company.
7. Teach employees how to recognize an attack
I think this should have been the first point. Make it the focus of your training.
You cannot protect yourself from something you don’t know. For the training to be effective, employees need to know what a typical attack looks like. Don’t wait until you have been breached so that employees can tell, oh this is how an attack looks like.
You have to be prepared for the fact that you may be breached. Cover all possible attacks with your employees. This way, the company and the employees can respond swiftly and more effectively.