How to educate employees on cybersecurity

Internal cybersecurity communications can protect privacy, enforce trust and help protect your business.

Robert Archer is a digital consultant who has created advocacy content for several established international companies focusing on the inner workings of the modern world of work.

Digital security is an important factor for any business. With so much of our work done online, especially since the global pandemic increased remote working, it’s more vital than ever to take care of our data. Not only does a data breach affect privacy, but it can also ruin customer trust in a brand and therefore have serious financial consequences. Additionally, it can incur some hefty fines, depending on the nature of the issue and the law in your area.

But security guidelines can seem complex and inaccessible – so how can you make sure that your employees are following the rules? And why is a strong communications strategy part of this? We take a look.

Knowing what to look for will increase vigilance.

Online scams are getting more sophisticated,  especially for employees who haven’t grown up with technology, and it can be hard to tell when something is wrong rather than just a new feature. Remote workers in particular will need strong digital skills as they’re less able to get immediate help. Communications and internal IT teams can share information about scams to look out for, as well as computer best practices, to help team members spot when something isn’t quite right. 

Having a clear list of things to look out for should hopefully increase vigilance. Some employees may feel that they’re bothering the IT department if they ask questions, so creating a way for them to do an initial check themselves can help ensure all issues get reported. The same goes for remote employees – flexible working and different time zones don’t always allow all employees the same access to IT support at work.

Creating a team approach can improve reporting.

A good team mentality can go a long way toward increasing confidence. If there’s a positive association around reporting any concerns, employees begin to feel like it’s a collective effort to ‘protect’ the company from security issues, rather than one person having to be a lone voice reporting concerns.

Part of this mentality means that you need to foster a positive attitude toward making mistakes. If an employee is frightened of the consequences of making an error, then they’re far less likely to own up to behavior that may have accidentally created a security issue. Hiding an issue or just fixing it quietly without raising awareness can actually lead to further problems down the line, so if it’s a genuine mistake, try to promote a no-blame attitude.

Make education fun and engaging.

When it comes to educating your employees about security, it’s important to make learning about this topic fun and engaging. After all, cybersecurity can be a difficult and daunting topic for many people to understand. Consider creating interactive training sessions that incorporate real-life examples and scenarios so that employees can better understand potential threats that could be lurking in their inboxes or on their computers. You could even incorporate gamified elements into your training, such as rewarding employees who are able to spot phishing scams or malware.

Whatever approach you take, it’s important to stay up-to-date with new cybersecurity threats and trends so that you can provide the most effective training possible. By taking these steps, you can help ensure that your employees are empowered to protect both their own personal information and your company’s valuable assets.

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