5 Ways to Protect Your Data by Keeping Your Employees Safe Online
Cybersecurity Awareness Month – held every October – is a joint initiative between government and industry that was born in the U.S. to raise awareness about digital security and empower everyone to protect their data from cybercrime. Each year a theme is chosen for the month – and the theme for 2022 is: “See Yourself In Cyber”, offering tips and advice on how to keep your data protected and stay safe online.
The main aim of staying safe online is to prevent data from being compromised. This should be a top priority for businesses, which risk being exposed to financial loss and reputational damage if their cybersecurity controls are weak. Their first line of defence against cyber-attacks for any business is their employees.
Paying attention to the following five areas will help to empower your employees to stay safe while online for work and reinforce the security of your company data:
Knowing how to react to a cyber-attack is helpful but waiting for an attack to happen before acting is not enough. This complacent approach restricts your business to damage control. You must focus on establishing a proactive cybersecurity strategy by implementing measures that add processes to identify attacks before they occur. This brings cybersecurity training into sharp focus.
The ever-expanding risk landscape makes it essential to provide your employees with the knowledge and skills required to spot different types of cyber-attacks and protect your data and infrastructure.
Online training courses are a convenient way to improve your employees’ cybersecurity skills and reduce costly human error.
Phishing Attack Simulators
Cybercriminals exploit the vast number of emails that are sent globally every day – over 300 billion – by executing phishing attacks: a form of social engineering scam that attempts to trick employees into giving up personal data, credentials, or other information by pretending to be from a legitimate party.
Because we don't have time to analyse every message that lands in our inbox, proactive businesses deploy phishing attack simulators: a security awareness tool that helps employees to identify phishing scams. This service reinforces a business’s security controls by periodically running test campaigns that imitate basic and advanced phishing attacks, providing employees with a practical understanding of cybersecurity.
Remote Working Security Checks
Our response to the COVID-19 pandemic has transformed the way we work. Forced to shift rapidly to remote working amid emergency lockdowns, many businesses have embraced and continued with this flexible model. This has opened multiple new points of entry for cybercriminals to exploit.
To mitigate cyber-attacks when working remotely, encourage your employees to develop a cybersecurity routine to protect their devices by providing a checklist of key considerations – such as running anti-virus scans, using a password manager, connecting via a Virtual Private Network (VPN), using multi-factor authentication, and covering webcams.
Adopt a “Zero Trust” Strategy
The philosophy behind this strategy is “never trust, always verify”. With a workforce that increasingly operates outside office boundaries, businesses can’t only rely on traditional security measures – such as firewalls and VPNs – to protect them.
This mindset reinforces a business’s security perimeter by requiring all users – both inside and outside its network – to be authenticated, authorised, and continuously validated for security credentials and posture before being granted or maintaining access to applications and data.
Positive Cybersecurity Culture
If your employees aren’t invested in cybersecurity, your business will be leaving the backdoor open to cyber-attacks. According to the European Union Agency for Cybersecurity, the cybersecurity culture of an organisation refers to “the knowledge, beliefs, perceptions, attitudes, assumptions, norms and values of people regarding cybersecurity and how they manifest in people’s behaviour with information technologies.”
Positive cybersecurity culture embeds relevant security considerations into employees’ daily actions. Adopting a proactive approach to cybersecurity will create a strong culture that grows organically from engaged attitudes and behaviours towards the subject.