Cybersecurity is one of the cornerstones of any organization with an online presence, which is a majority of organizations in the modern world. This means you need to make sure everyone working for your company is familiar with both general cybersecurity and your specific policies. Here are five cybersecurity basics your employees should know.
1. Common Cyber Attacks
Before anything else can be taught, you need your employees to understand what is a cyber attack. Theoretical knowledge of different types of cyber attacks, the ways they're perpetrated and the damage they cause can show employees why it's important to defend against these attacks and encourage them to take an active role in your cybersecurity infrastructure. Some of the most common cyber attacks are phishing, malware and ransomware. Phishing is a tactic by which a cybercriminal creates a legitimate-seeming form of communication, such as an email or a text, and convinces you to hand over sensitive information. Malware is software meant to corrupt or damage programs, networks or devices. Ransomware is similarly malicious software, but holds your data hostage rather than corrupting it.
2. Cybersecurity Infrastructure
Your cybersecurity infrastructure will contain many common tools, but these tools should be configured for your unique needs. Information security, operational security, application security and network security are the four aspects of cybersecurity infrastructure and you need to make sure the tools you employ cover these aspects. Information security protects your data itself, in storage and during transfer. Encryption is a common information security tool. Operational security is basically risk management. Your operational security will consist of your organization's best practices and plans and your implementation of them. Application and network security are the ones where all employees will have more involvement. Application security involves authentication and authorization management and device security. Network security is the most well-known aspect of cybersecurity infrastructure, encompassing VPNs, firewalls, network segmentation and antivirus software.
3. Best Practices
There are several best practices you should incorporate into your cybersecurity plans. Make sure everyone in your organization knows to avoid unsecured or public wifi and use appropriately strong passwords. Remind employees to regularly check your software center for updates and patches and to regularly back up their data. Provide reminders regarding common types of cyber attacks, such as phishing, and cyber attacks that aren't as high-tech. Examples of low-tech cyber attacks include social engineering, where the cybercriminal gets his or her hands on sensitive information outside of cyberspace, and theft of devices such as smartphones and laptops.
4. The Employee's Role
The most imperative knowledge for employees is their roles in your cybersecurity infrastructure. If they don't know where they need to be involved, then they're less likely to practice vigilance and awareness when dealing with sensitive data or accessing your network. Make sure your employees know where to find your security plans and best practices, have access to training and any updates to your best practices and know what's expected of them in terms of protecting your network and data. For example, if employees are able to work remotely, make sure they understand why tools like multi-factor authentication and VPNs are necessary and how to use them.
Above all, employees can make a difference in your cybersecurity responses by practicing awareness. If an employee is unaware of what phishing is and how it works, for example, he or she will be unprepared for a phishing attack when it happens. You can reduce this risk by offering regular basic cybersecurity training, updates and access to a qualified IT or cybersecurity team for assistance. You can also periodically send out test emails or texts that simulate phishing attacks. When employees respond to or click those emails, let them know it was a simulated attack and provide those employees with more training.
Without proper cybersecurity measures, your organization will be at greater risk of compromising your data, tools and processes. Employees should know about your cybersecurity measures and the roles they play in those measures so they can do their parts.