Today’s hackers are equipped with a high-tech, high-powered arsenal of cyberattack weaponry. Worms, trojans, bot-networks, ransomware, and brute force password crackers are just a few of the software tools they use to steal sensitive data. Worse than that, hackers also employ hardware that can steal credit card information from scanners at gas pumps and even directly out of a victim’s wallet.

While it may be overwhelming to consider the amount of sophisticated hardware and software hackers use to exploit weaknesses, the truth is, they often won’t have to go to those lengths. Before attempting to code and deploy a trojan or bot-network, hackers will use simple means, such as social engineering or even making a few phone calls with basic information that could be gathered from Google. Furthermore, even the most complex hacking operations start out with a few simple emails, friend requests, or chats.

The fact is, hackers don’t primarily target vulnerabilities in software or hardware—they target vulnerabilities in people. If you own a business, hackers will continuously try to compromise your cybersecurity by initiating malicious contact with your employees. In these cases, investing in the best cybersecurity software and hardware will not be enough. Safeguarding your business’ sensitive data on all fronts depends on creating and managing a strong cybersecurity awareness program.

A security awareness program is a way to ensure that everyone at your organization has a working knowledge of cybersecurity and a sense of responsibility. Security awareness training programs are important because they reinforce that security is the responsibility of everyone in the company. This article will offer a few steps to get your business’ cybersecurity awareness program jump started.

Assess the Current Cybersecurity Baseline

The IBM 2017 Threat Analysis Index reported that nearly half of all email is spam, with a significant portion containing malicious code. Furthermore, The Symantec 2017 Internet Security Threat Report found that phishing had become the number one means of delivering malware—but how many of your employees could recognize a sophisticated phishing attack?

Before discussing cybersecurity in general, it is advantageous to gauge your organization’s knowledge baseline. Establishing baseline assessment scores related to phishing susceptibility and cyber security knowledge levels allow you to mark your starting point and measure progress.

Have your IT team take note of the incidences of attempted and successful cyber-attacks your organization currently experiences before you begin employee awareness training. After implementing training and education, you should see a reduction in employee-driven cybersecurity incidents over time, which is a good indicator of program success.

Deliver Consistent Internal Communications and Content

Just like meeting financial and client retention goals, effective cybersecurity needs to become a regular part of the conversation at your organization. Fostering this communication requires a combination of group and individual education and training that can be accounted for and measured. For group training, consider using company-wide emails, presentations, newsletters, or working lunches. For individual training, consider the following formats:

  • A security handbook
  • Online training modules and quizzes
  • A cache of Essential articles and resources
  • Role-based guidelines (e.g., what each team needs to know about security)
  • Training programs (both for new hires and ongoing employee education)
  • One-on-one or small group sessions with IT leaders
  • Brief cybersecurity videos

Create and Enforce New Control Levels

Even if a phishing attack is successful at one level, it can still be contained and stopped in its tracks. Creating a system of control levels encourages communication between departments and helps support awareness of suspicious activity. Controls ensure that people and systems are only able to do what their roles dictate them to do with the appropriate approval. For example, a common cybercrime tactic involves calling a business’ support team and requesting an accounting change. By forwarding a request like this to managers or enforcing a unique passcode system to safeguard the account, you’ve included another layer of security to contain and repel cyberattacks.

Take the First Step

Repelling cyberattacks is a reality of doing business in this day and age. You must safeguard your digital assets with training and best practices the same way you would protect a physical storefront. Keeping your organization up-to-date in cybersecurity best practices can be a daunting task. To stay safe and ahead of the curve, reach out to an IT solutions partner like Bizco Technologies.

Since 1994, Bizco Technologies has operated with the core philosophy of helping small businesses grow by implementing the right information technology and cybersecurity solutions. If you’d like to learn more about implementing a cybersecurity awareness training program, don’t hesitate to give us a call.