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5 Key Steps to Train Employees for Cybersecurity – Since everyday more data breaches and attacks affect business, today it is essential that you take the time to look at where your organization is vulnerable. You can set up any system to protect your business with cybersecurity, but the truth is that many attacks target your employees, where you are most vulnerable. Therefore, understanding how to train employees for cybersecurity is essential for any organization.

With so many resources businesses can use to protect their digital assets, such as managed IT services that provide world-class security on a small business budget, hackers turned to tactics like pioneering phishing and social engineering to find an easy target. The cyberthreat environment is constantly changing and it can be difficult for businesses to keep up. Here are 5 key steps to train your employees for cyberthreats:

1. Train Your Employees to Recognize Phishing Attacks

Some of the most powerful and effective cyberattacks in existence today are based on human error. Attackers can create a targeted man-in-the-middle attack that will endanger even the most protected accounts by mimicking email addresses, domains, and even something like Google’s two-factor authentication form. Hackers will try every way to get an advantage, but an advanced attacker with the right knowledge can create a high-targeted plan to work on your network. You need to teach your staff how to identify a suspicious email and where to go when they have questions about it. Here are some characteristic features about phishing emails:

  • Spelling Mistakes – Official emails do not contain misspelled words, weak or missing punctuations, and grammatical errors. Emails from trusted companies are well-organized. Therefore, if you see any of these errors delete the email directly.
  • Greeting – Phishing messages usually begin with undefined greetings such as “Dear customer” or “Valued account user”. Legitimate companies often use your real name.
  • Suspicious Attachments – Financial institutions generally do not send attachments in their e-mail communications. Downloading an attachment can cause malware to be automatically installed on your computer. So watch out for high-risk attachments like .exe, .scr, and .zip.

2. Strengthen Password Security

Strong passwords are the most basic requirement for email security. A weak password will never protect your email and company data in your email account. So you should make sure that your and your employees passwords follow the rules below.

  • Use numbers and special characters.
  • Avoid words that can be found in a dictionary.
  • Use upper and lower case letters.
  • Do not include any information that someone could easily guess based on your identity.

3. Invest in Employee Training

One of the most important concepts to understand with cybersecurity is that maintenance is a continuous concept. New attacks develop constantly, and your approach to guarding against them cannot be limited to annual training. You need to commit to a wide variety of approaches to keep your team abreast of what’s out there and what to do about it. This requires a mindset shift: not viewing the person who opened the wrong attachment as the point of failure and, instead, recognizing that it’s the security and training structure around that individual which has failed.

4. Don’t Blame Your Employees

Many people look at the news of a major data breach and conclude that it is the fault of some unfortunate employee who clicked the wrong thing. While it’s true that employees could be the trap, blaming a person for not having the right information at the right time is indeed a way of avoiding the organization’s responsibility to keep its employees’ network and data safe. It is the responsibility of the organization to make a plan so that everyone has the information they need to make the right decision and know where to go when they have any questions. You can use Keepnet Labs’s Awareness Educator to train your employees with appropriate and engaging courses. It ensures your employees become more aware of threats and better-equipped to identify sophisticated phishing emails in the future.

5. Conduct Realistic Practice Attacks

You can’t expect your team to develop proper cybersecurity habits without finding a way to put these concepts into action and even learn from their mistakes. Conducting realistic practice attacks will help your employees learn from your mistakes. You’ll also get data as to where in your organization there’s the most room for improvement, helping you plan future training sessions as necessary. Everyone hates falling for the same trick twice, so a successful practice attack can make for a real teachable moment about why security is so important. At this step, I highly recommend you the Keepnet Labs’s Phishing Simulator.

It allows you to safely and proactively test and measure your organization’s vulnerability by sending harmless phishing attacks to your team, tracking their actions, and reporting them to you.

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