The Role of Employees in Cybersecurity

With cybercrime on the rise, taking proactive steps to protect your organization’s data is essential. Did you know that many breaches are caused by employee error? It might be as simple as accidentally clicking on a malicious link or sending confidential documents to the wrong recipient. Even though employees can be one of the weakest links when it comes to an organization’s security, if they are trained properly, they can also be an organization’s best defense. Here are our top 5 tips for ensuring employees care about cybersecurity!

1. Educate Your Employees

Educating your employees about the importance of cybersecurity will go a long ways in protecting your organization. Teach employees how to recognize phishing emails and remind them to be suspicious when it comes to links and unsolicited emails. Have computer security training courses, share refresher videos, and send frequent email reminders with infographics. It is also helpful to connect cybersecurity to employees’ personal lives. Teaching employees that good cybersecurity habits will also impact their personal lives will help drive the message home.

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2. Provide Ongoing Training

Educating your employees and providing the initial training is a good start, but it can’t stop there. It’s important to provide ongoing training for your employees. Cybersecurity training should start during the onboarding process, and then your organization should provide training periodically throughout the year. Hackers are constantly refining their techniques and finding new methods to compromise personal data; in response, organizations should continuously update their employees on the latest security threats and how to avoid them. Security training should be specific to each employee’s position and cover a variety of topics, including how to securely send confidential files and messages, the importance of strong passwords, how to store data properly, and the risks of traveling with company devices.

3. Establish a Security Policy

Create a security policy for your organization, and ensure your employees follow it. Have guidelines in place for remote access and have usage restrictions if necessary. Ensure employees know the consequences of violating security policies, both for the organization and themselves. You should also have a specific plan in place in the event of a security attack. What steps should the employees follow if a breach occurs? Who should they report the incident to?

4. Provide Training Exercises

After you’ve established a security plan, it’s time to put that plan into practice! Think of simulated attacks for different departments based on their job responsibilities and functions. Sending a fake phishing email to the organization is a good place to start. After the exercise, you can target the problem areas by tailoring the training to certain departments.

5. Encourage a Culture of Sharing

Keep security at the forefront of employees’ minds by sharing cybersecurity successes among the organization. When an employee successfully thwarts a security threat, be sure to tell people about it! Make sure employees feel comfortable sharing any issues that they come across, instead of hiding mistakes which would only make the issue worse. Remember to be understanding of employees who make mistakes. Even with continuous training, mistakes can happen in just a few seconds.

Helping your employees care about cybersecurity will go a long ways in helping protect your organization against security threats. Stay up to date on the latest threats, communicate the plan to your employees, and drive the message home!

Date Posted: 5/21/18
Date Last Updated: 6/4/19

By: RTI Marketing Team

Riverside Technologies, Inc. (RTI) specializes in managed services, IT hardware, warehouse services, and technology deployment.

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Categories: Security


Rosie Beckett · January 23, 2019 at 1:20 pm

My husband’s company is looking for ways to improve cybersecurity and you make a great point that one of the most important things is to provide ongoing training for all employees. In my opinion, this makes sense because cybersecurity is always evolving and changing. Bringing in a cybersecurity consultant on a regular basis to train my husband and his co-workers would definitely give my husband peace of mind that he is keeping the company’s data as safe as possible.

Caden Dahl · February 28, 2019 at 10:14 pm

At my work, I’m pretty sure that a good amount of people don’t care about being safe online. There have been a few times where someone’s computer got infected and had to be wiped clean. Now as you said here, it would be a very good idea to establish a security policy. That way, we could have a set of guidelines on what to do and what not to do.

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