Cybersecurity: Educating Employees

by Ellie Martin
Published 05/21/2018
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Cybersecurity has become a chief concern amongst all people around the world. This is due, in part, to the famous hacking attacks on major international companies in recent years. The attacks on Target and Equifax brought new concerns about the ever-changing world to the forefront of people’s minds. There is a lot to be concerned about as the world grows and internet access follows suit.

Education is Key
In this age, we will see the number of attacks increase dramatically and the proficiency of the attacks increase as well. However, even with this surge, we will still see the expansion of the internet and the access to devices expand dramatically. This means that, more than ever, we must be prepared to defend ourselves against digital attacks. These can come in the form of malware, brute force attacks and everything in between that try to steal our data and create adware problems.

Educating yourself on the types of cyberattacks is especially important for business owners as they must secure not only their own data but the data of their company and their employees. It is an impossible task for an IT team to completely cover all that needs to be covered so that your intranet remains safe. It is also unadvisable that a business owner attempt to secure all of their intranet by themselves.

So, the only real step moving forward is to make your whole company, at least partly, a cybersecurity one. That is to say, you must educate your employees on how best to keep their information private and your business’s data secure. In this article, we will go over the best ways to educate your employees and what exactly to educate them on. This, along with the basic strategies of data protection, will ensure that your employees are safe and that your internal data is covered.

What to Lookout for
The first thing to educate your employees on are the types of attacks that can seem legitimate or go unnoticed. This, essentially, refers to any type of hacking attempt that comes in the form of phishing or spyware. These types of attacks usually hide inside of emails that seem legitimate at first but are then proven to be carrying either a virus or worm.

These methods of intrusion are some of the most common found in the workplace. If an employee downloads a piece of software that they should not have then that can potentially jeopardize your intranet and database. You must also educate your employees on the other various physical methods of hacking that have proven to be incredibly successful and extremely detrimental.

These come in the form of bait and switch attacks and simply lying on the phone. While that last one can seem ridiculous, it is important to know that many employees work for businesses and have never met the upper echelon of management. Someone can easily pose as a member of HR, IT or the C-Suite and extract information or login credentials from an employee. This is a simple hacking exploit but is relentlessly damaging as a malicious actor with login credentials can do far more harm than a trojan horse or bit of adware. Once your employees know what to look out for they can become more discerning and more effective professionals.

Promoting Preparation
It is imperative that your employees know not just what to lookout for, but, how to prevent such attacks from happening in the first place or, at the very least, how to respond. Businesses, small and large, especially those dealing with credit card information and other sensitive data like e-commerce businesses, must educate their employees. Once you feel that your employees are educated about important cybersecurity topics and on the types of attacks that concern them then it is time to turn to preparation and prevention. These hacking attempts are only as good as we allow them to be.

So, this means that you show your employees how to encrypt files and browse discreetly. It is sometimes advisable to use proxies at work and it is always advisable that your system software be completely up to date. It should not only be IT teams that have to constantly respond to intrusions.

Once your employees become proactive then they can assuage your fears and prevent most hacking attempts from being successful. Encryption and good password policy will go a long way as well as being discerning when it comes to email and downloads. It is important that business owners incentivize, or at least reward, employees for educating themselves about these policies as this knowledge can create a much safer work environment for everyone. You must do everything in your power to keep everyone updated and informed so that your business and employees do not suffer greatly.

Ellie Martin is co-founder of Startup Change group. Her works have been featured on Yahoo! , Wisebread, AOL, among others. She currently splits her time between her home office in New York and Israel. You may connect with her on Twitter.