Choosing A Cyber-Security Awareness Program: A Guide For Businesses
Implementing an effective security awareness program may at first seem intimidating, there is a lot...
Are you looking to improve cyber-security awareness in your business? Follow these quick cyber security awareness tips, and instantly see an improvement in cyber security awareness of employee's across the business.
Let's start this with a bit of context, there is no 'quick fix' for your company's cyber-security needs. Investment in anti-malware software, privilege management and of course security awareness training will gradually improve your company's overall security.
However, if one or more of the following is missing from your business, you should look at implementing as soon as possible - and see instant improvement in security awareness in your business.
Ever heard the phrase, "the fish rots from the head down"? No place is this more true than in cyber-security. Management need to be the most aware of the cyber-security risks to their business, and take action to address them. Educating management first will save time and instil in them the value of having an awareness culture throughout the company.
Not only this, managers and CEO's are most likely to be the victims of attacks. This is because scammers will single them out for spear-phishing attempts, ransomware and many other scams. This is because they recognise that management will have the most amount of privilege access, and therefore give the hackers access to the most amount of information.
Conducting a simulation of a spear-phishing attack is one of the best ways to gauge how ready your company is to spot a phishing email. By simulating a targeted attack, you will see how many employee's are practising the right amount of caution when looking for phishing emails.
Most people think of phishing emails as simply obvious spam, but in recent years, we have seen the rise of social engineering, and this has led to more sophisticated phishing emails, such as spear-phishing. By imitating the email of the CEO, hackers are much more likely to trick employee's to clicking malware links, or submitting information.
If you launch a simulated spear-phish on your employee's you can gauge their understanding of this attack, measure your companies specific risk score, and take actions to improve it. Therefore, this is a quick way to improve your all-round security awareness.
The most secure companies will be those where employee's share information about potential threats, so they addressed rapidly. By having every employee work together with the IT team, to foster a culture of security awareness, you will more quickly identify and delete emails, such as the spear-phishing scams mentioned above.
If, on the other hand, you notice a culture of non-sharing information and a lack of acknowledgement of security, it will negatively impact the whole team. An instant quick fix is to start conversations around cyber security, and make it part of the culture to report and work together.
In many companies, it can be an issue that some employee's don't understand, or possibly don't care about the risk of cyber security threats. Though it may not directly be a part of their job, with so many scams focusing on manipulating the end-user it's important for all users to stay aware.
Clearly communicating the potential risks to the organisation; ransomware, damage to reputation, or downtime due to malware should help employee's better contextualise the reasons for cyber security awareness training programs.
Going beyond the previous points, of making sure that cyber-security awareness is embedded in the culture, you should now try to legitimise this with email policies. Work with HR or the relevant parties to organise policies; such as email policy's, which will make it an essential for the company to have safe and secure cyber security practices.
This is a key conversation to have, as all the responsibility for improving cyber security awareness of end-users should not rest on just the IT teams shoulders. By having these discussions it makes everyone involved, and again fosters that supportive environment which will lead to great cyber security awareness training.
Implementing a cyber-security awareness program is not without it's challenges. Many employee's may not see the benefit to them in their day-to-day activities. Stressing the importance of a cyber-security awareness course will help your campaign.
"Demonstrating the link between technical measures, organisational measures and employee behaviours, both during and outside working hours, can significantly improve the development of a secure working environment."
By demonstrating to end-users, measurable reasons for the cyber-security measures, it will increase uptake. Showing them data such as risk scores, or solidifying this with simulated phishing attacks will demonstrate the real-life practical value of a cyber-security training course.
Therefore, if everyone is onboard it represents a company-wide commitment to cyber-security. Including fun courses and activities will help with engagement, and having a broad, accessible level of training course will make sure people at all skill levels in the organisation are trained to recognise the most common threats to them.
It's also important to stress you should not just rely on email blocking software, as scammers are learning new ways to bypass this. This may lull the end-user into a false sense of security, leading to more risk taking behaviour. By emphasising the end-user's need to use their own judgement, it will empower them to take their learning into their own hands.
Interactive elements such as Videos, quizzes, will help improve cyber-security awareness as this type of content is unique and is more likely to stick in the mind of the learner. Studies have shown that video is more efficient for processing and memory recall. Quizzes will help ensure that your end users progress is measurable. This is vital as it will help show their progress, which will in turn, encourage them to continue to learn.
Ensuring that you have interactive cyber-security awareness activities, beyond simple discussions will again help to foster the cyber-security awareness culture in your business. Though PowerPoints and annual discussions about security used to be the norm. They are not effective enough as more sophisticated attack vectors increase. Ensuring bite-sized learning, combined with regularity and interesting content will massively increase user retention, and in the long-run prevent cyber attacks.
If you implement these steps, and have these discussions you should begin to see instant improvement in your companies cyber-security culture - and the best part is these are totally free. It's important to note there may be some uncomfortable conversations with managers, or even colleagues. The main issue in cyber-security is ignorance, and by talking through why it's vital to take the necessary precautions it will solidify an 'instant' change in security awareness.
These simple steps focus on fostering a culture, and that culture will lead to more open and frank discussions about cyber security, which is the best way to create awareness and stress why cyber security awareness is important.
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