Recent cyber incidents tell us that information breaches are evolving in terms of both scale and variety. Your organization has most likely had to focus on the purpose and goal of preparing your workforce to help protect the company’s assets related to a data breach. Employees are the first line of defense when protecting sensitive information because they are often an entry point for cyber criminals attempting to gather information on a company.

This makes employee training on cybersecurity essential. Training should be a regularly recurring activity, reflect emerging trends in data security attack vectors, and address email phishing schemes. Fortunately, cybersecurity training does not need to be a costly venture. There are a number of strategies, when combined with formal training, that will help employees, and your organization overall, be best prepared for the threats they are encountering daily.

Internal Training for All Staff

The human element involved in cybersecurity and other information security incidents is crucial to understand. Training should occur quarterly (at a minimum) in regards to policies for handling removable media and email protocols.

Internal training sessions should focus on signs of phishing, malware, and other cyber threats an employee may encounter on a networked device. Protocol should establish what happens if a device has been breached, compromised, lost, or stolen. It is important that training cover all levels of staff who have a device that connects to the network, not just departments that may handle specific information that has shown to be of interest to cyber criminals, such as financial information. Human resources (HR) teams can often be leveraged to help develop polices and gap-analysis related to security monitoring through surveys, web based training, and information gathering.

Coverage should also extend beyond basic email and device protocol. In the modern Internet of Things age, understanding and setting limits with regard to social media and cloud storage will also help limit exposure and make employees aware of sites that could compromise information.

Next Level Awareness

Cybersecurity training challenges require an interdisciplinary approach to help your employees understand what information is at risk. It is not uncommon for HR specialists to help information technology teams evaluate end user risk mitigation, develop targeted role-specific training, and identify end user knowledge gaps with respect to current or updated policies.

Another step to consider would be to undertake a social engineering campaign to help your organization tests its policies in a simulated attack scenario. For example, email phishing tests help prepare users by offering a real case scenario of a phishing attempt. These tests will help you guide employees to recognize attempts to divulge information that will allow visibility to your network. Providing examples of common and trending email phishing schemes help employees recognize potential attacks as well as create data relevant to protocol. In addition, the results of phishing exercises can help your organization make needed adjustments to its response and breach remediation procedures.

Other Points to Consider

Training is just one piece of the puzzle, but often it is the most cost-effective and lays the foundation for changing how employees understand their role in securing the control environment. Additional security measures may require investment or reconfiguration of existing measures when allowing for remote access to your network. Systems that account for a variety of personal devices should be especially cautious of information shared that is not restricted over a virtual private network (VPN) requiring multi-factor authentication to gain access. You know that cybersecurity criminals will seek to take advantage of system vulnerabilities that have been introduced by transitions between office and home workplaces.

Here to Help

Enhancing security can be costly, but the financial impact is often far less than the collateral damage resulting from an actual breach. Reputation damage, legal fees, as well as the necessity to upgrade security after a breach, are very important reasons for proactively addressing security measures on a regular basis. Both physical and electronic data need adequate oversight and being proactive in the approach to managing data risks can help position your organization for the new world of cyber risks.

For more information about cybersecurity, contact Kyle Konopasek or a member of our team.

Published on October 19, 2020