There’s an old business adage that goes like this: your employees can be your greatest asset but also your biggest risk. While this has always been true in the area of sales, business automation and customer service, it’s now highly applicable to cybersecurity as well.
The best security program in the world can’t protect your business from malware if your employees don’t understand their roles in protecting company data. They are the first line of defense against cyber-attacks, deciding if they should download an unsolicited email attachment or click on a pop-up. Education is the key to fostering a cybersecurity culture.
Types Of Malware
There are various categories of malware that you should be aware of, regardless of whether you have your CISA certification or not. Viruses are not the only type of malware to watch out for. You should also be concerned about adware, spyware and browser hijacking software. Malware writers are incredibly skilled at writing all different types of programs that can infect and impede your machines. Make sure to account for all different types of malware in your malware security strategies.
Here are five simple tips your employees can use to protect themselves and the company against malware attacks.
Implement A Continuing Education Program
Hackers are always looking for clever ways to access sensitive data. Your employees might be aware of the dangers of opening unsolicited email attachments, but few know that their personal smartphones or the office printer can also act as gateways into the company network.
You may think that training your employees in data security is enough to safeguard your network, but security threats are constantly evolving. According to one report, 93% of employees admitted to participating in at least one potentially risky behavior, such as installing an app on their work computer.
To be one of the best it companies you must minimize the chances of an attack, you need to make security training an ongoing practice. Employees should be warned about the latest phishing schemes, reminded to update their passwords every few months, and so on.
Make Security Easy
Even the most knowledgeable employee will be tempted to sidestep your security measures if they are too complicated to follow. Although you should implement robust cybersecurity policies, you also need to make sure that they are easy to follow. For example, ensure that antivirus software updates automatically without interfering with your employee’s activity. Otherwise they might be tempted to skip the update to be able to complete their work tasks. This is a must, no matter whether you manage cyber security for the Canadian government or a small family business.
Create A Culture That Encourages Personal Responsibility
A great way to encourage employees to care about cybersecurity is by creating a sense of personal responsibility, as is done at Proliant. Help them understand that not only is company data at risk, but their personal information could also be hacked if they don’t follow the security policies instituted by the IT department. When they realize that network security has an impact on everyone who accesses the company network, they will become more eager to implement policies that safeguard their data.
Implement Strong Security Policies
One of the hardest parts of training your employees and creating a strong security culture is asking them to change their behavior. Invest into IT management training for everyone. Making them stop writing down their passwords or stop downloading software from the internet will be a significant challenge, but it’s one that is necessary nonetheless. All your hard work implementing security policies will be for nothing if your employees don’t comply. For instance, instead of creating complicated passwords that your employees will forget, use an app that provides impossible to crack passwords across your networks.
Make IT Support Available To Users
Make sure that your employees know how to behave and who to contact in case of a malware attack, if they have a question about security or if they notice unusual activity.
Create an environment in which employees feel confident asking questions when they don’t understand something. Also, don’t cast a stone at the employee who reports a malware attack. You want to encourage your employees to discuss potential security risks openly. Reward the person who detects a security breach instead of faulting them.
Help your employees realize that the company’s success includes making sure that sensitive data isn’t lost in a cyber-attack. As soon as everybody understands their part, malware becomes less of a threat.
You might think that your firewall and antivirus software are enough to safeguard you against malicious attackers. But, nobody is immune. Non-targeted attacks increased by 26% in 2015 and over 317 million new types of hostile software were created to exploit big data solutions. If you don’t train your employees to avoid being caught in a malware attack, you are putting your entire organization at risk. These simple tips are a great way to foster a culture of cybersecurity and implement malware security best practices among your personnel.
Image from http://omega-enterprises.org/business-security/