Cybercrimes and data breaches have become more and more common. It seems that almost every week there is a new headline about a large data breach. While larger businesses will see large impacts to their customer base and drops in revenue for a time, most small businesses can never recover from these attacks. Unfortunately, the easiest way for cyber criminals to gain access to a network is being let in by someone with the keys. Employees are often ill prepared to handle exploitation from clever attackers, and many aren't fully aware that they are targets. To help secure your network against cyber attacks it is important to train your employees so they are equipped to handle anything that might come up. Developing strict network policies, and having a comprehensive security policy, will lessen the chance of a cybercriminal breaching your network.
How to Train Your Employees?
The first step in mitigating a threat is recognizing that there is one. Make sure that your employees know that they are all potential victims of direct, and indirect attack attempts. Hold quarterly security meetings where the IT or security department can go over the latest threats, hold training sessions, and have training documents available for staff to reference. Whether it is through a phishing email or a human exploitation attempt by phone, being aware of the possible types of attacks will greatly reduce the risk of a successful attack.
It is recommended that you test your employees about their cyber security knowledge. Afterwards, use their knowledge, and lack of knowledge to alter your training to fit what needs to be focused on. Continue to research the latest tactics that cyber criminals use to breach networks and utilize this knowledge to keep security practices relevant.
During the training sessions, ask employees if they have any problems following the procedures. What is the impact of the policies on their ability to work efficiently? Listen to what they say and then work together to find a solution. Employees may find it difficult to remember their new passwords, and company policy may have employees required to change their passwords every 90 days. Is it more cost effective to pay for a password storing tool for employees to prevent the passwords from falling into the wrong hands, or chance having them write the passwords down, or keep them stored on a local file? What would be the best solution for your company? If the security practices are too stringent, employees may not follow them, putting your systems at even more risk. Keeping safety, as well as the impact of the solutions on employees is something to consider.
IT Staff and Management
Although everyone in a company is a potential target, IT staff and higher management will always be at the top of the list for cyber criminals. Administrative permissions and access to the "keys of the kingdom" are priceless for a successful breech. Securing these people's network access and monitoring their network activities will alert you to potential data threats.
Along with knowing how to prevent a cyber attack, your employees should also know what to do when they suspect that there is, or has been, an attack. Who will they contact? How should they contact them? Setting up a means of reporting attacks is crucial for reacting to them. This is extremely important in the event of loss of company hardware.
If your company's network is under a cyber attack, immediately notify all your employees. A standard procedure needs to be followed. Give instructions to everyone on how to handle customers and the press if approached. Having a plan for the worst-case scenario will greatly lessen the impact.
Awareness and training can help prevent employees from making mistakes, putting your company at risk. Testing and working with employees to find the right training, and the best balance of safety and execution will keep your employees safer and happier. And lastly, having procedures in place for reporting and reacting to breeches will help mitigate the amount of damage taken when the worst-case scenario happens.
Secure with SWAG
Don't let cyber crimes overwhelm you. Instead, take note and improve your security measures before it's too late. Companies, both large and small, make mistakes; but you don't have to be one of them! Speak With A Geek (SWAG) has experts ready to assist! To learn more about how to use SWAG for development and security projects, give us a call today at 866-480-4335 or schedule your free assessment here.
See also: 10 Steps to Starting a Tech Company