It pays to educate your employees about basic security best practices. Often, cybersecurity awareness begins with teaching people how to protect their own information. For example, if an employee understands how to protect their own banking information and sensitive data, they are more likely to apply that understanding to their day-to-day work life. As a business owner, it’s vital to invest time in teaching your team about basic cybersecurity hygiene – and through this effort, you’ll see the benefits spill over into your business. Let’s review seven personal security best practices to teach your team today.
1. Follow password best practices.
Most applications are still accessed using a username and password. Securing your personal information begins by following password best practices. Too many people assume that their information – whether personal or professional – simply isn’t likely to be targeted. However, many people don’t understand that all cybercriminals may be looking for is a small payout from a drained bank account or simple entry into a company’s larger system. Within the context of that discussion, encourage your team to think about the following issues related to passwords:
2. Defend against social engineering.
Social engineering is a trend that’s on the rise, where cybercriminals publicly gather information about a company and its employees to impersonate them. In the personal setting, criminals may use social engineering to attempt to authorize fraudulent charges on someone’s credit card account or open accounts in their name. Defending against social engineering starts with understanding where information is shared. Encourage employees to defend against social engineering by:
3. Always use a virus and malware protection program.
Virus and malware protection isn’t just for the office – your team should be using it on their personal devices as well. These programs can be installed on laptops, desktop computers, mobile devices and servers to continuously scan for and screen out malicious messages and websites. When employees understand how to use these programs, they’re more likely to use them at work. And if they’re accessing company information on their devices, you’re more likely to be protected. Let employees know that:
4. Keep track of your mobile devices.
As mobile devices such as smart phones and tablets have become an important part of our business workflow, successful mobile device management is critical. It is easy for an employee to leave their mobile device unsecured or inadvertently leave it behind somewhere. Inform employees to more safely manage their smartphone or tablet by:
5. Only access sensitive files on a secure network.
Network security isn’t just for the office; it matters when your team is accessing sensitive files on their own network as well. Teach your team about basic network safety by focusing on:
6. Incorporate continuous backups.
Some cybersecurity threats today can target important data – both business and personal. An example of a threat against data is ransomware, a malicious program that gets deployed when an employee clicks on an infected link or is infected by another computer on the network. Once the program has been deployed, data is inaccessible, or even deleted, unless a ransom is paid. One important way to help protect both personal and company information is to use a backup solution. While ransomware is most commonly associated with business threats, criminals are increasingly targeting private users. Help your employees understand the risk here by educating them about:
7. Be aware of evolving threats.
Cybersecurity education isn’t a one-time event. New threats are coming on the scene every day. Help your employees develop good common sense around cybersecurity threats and to recognize common threads of suspicious activity. Strong pattern recognition can help your team identify emerging threats and not fall victim to them. However, as an employer, it is in your best interest to stay on top of new types of cybersecurity risks and to educate your team by:
As a business owner, having cybersecurity-savvy employees is your best line of defense against threats – especially paired with the right technology tools and careful third-party provider selection. Take the time to educate your team on these top security best practices. When you help them understand how it can protect their personal, sensitive information – such as financial data – your employees are more likely to bring the same level of awareness to the workplace.