How to Effectively Ensure Workplace Cybersecurity

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In this advanced digital age, cybersecurity is one of the growing concerns that is spooking businesses at large. A substantial part of this complex series of cybersecurity challenge is associated with employees in the workplace. Human error is a factor that is often overlooked. It seems often employees are failing to comply with established cybersecurity policies. Whether accidently or through intentional introduction of malware, employees are equipped enough to exploit the vulnerabilities.

If you are contemplating to revisit and incorporate effective cybersecurity measures, on-boarding your employees will be the profound strategy to begin with. According to the Insider Threat Intelligence Report 2018, 60% of risks identified to companies were because of employees using private, anonymous or VPN browsing to bypass security controls or to research how to bypass controls. The report goes on to reveal that in 78% of instances when company data was accessible via the public web, was caused by negligent employees.

This is the time to beef up your security team that can strictly protect information, people, and the business. For that, you need to incorporate an environment and culture of cybersecurity awareness.

Here are the key strategies to ensure workplace cybersecurity with your employees:

  1. Make cybersecurity training an essential component of on-boarding

Your company’s data and inside information are among the most valuable assets for you. Your firm must have invested a great deal of time and money on asset creation, which you shouldn’t allow to get compromised. According to the latest identity theft statistics, in 2016 in the US alone, 791 million identities were stolen. Clearly, this figure is not just huge, but highly disturbing, too. Thus, it is high time to turn your employees into a defense system and plug the vulnerabilities. Cybersecurity training needs to be integrated into the culture of your company. As soon a new employee joins the firm, he/she must be armed with knowledge and tools to contribute to running effective measures. From current landscape to future possibilities, the training needs to be thoroughly extensive. You can subscribe to threat intelligence resources, such as US-CERT, NIST, or FS-ISAC.

Furthermore, cybercriminals are using highly sophisticated algorithms to evolve their tactics. The best way to stay ahead of them is to make sure your employee know every possible threat, which can only be achieved through continuous training. The best form of training is “live fire” training, where employees undergo a simulated attack relevant to their job. Some companies are even creating simulated phishing attacks to see how many people will click on them.

  1. Stress the importance of cybersecurity measures

You need to take the role of a tech leader and tell your employees the importance of cyber hygiene. Treat security awareness like a marketing campaign with the intent to persuade them as to why security is so important. Awareness and training materials need to clearly outline the significance of cybersecurity both at work and home. Despite knowing the maleficence of cybercriminals, many employees don’t actually realize how grave the situation is. You need to paint a detailed picture regarding what potential threats are in the offing and their dire consequences.

The awareness program may include safety measures to keep information secured on digital devices, how to keep devices away from strangers, not leaving devices unattended to, being cautious of using public networks, and not sharing private information. The fact is when the concern of cybersecurity sounds more real, like having their credit card details stolen, it makes employees care more about being cyber secure. 

  1. Create a framework for cybersecurity policies and procedures

Your IT department should develop a formal, documented plan for cybersecurity policies that are reviewed and updated often with the latest information on attack vectors and other risks. Before hiring new employees and contractors, you need to ensure that you have proper procedures to protect your business. Your policies should revolve around the following factors:

  • Acceptable use of electronic devices and systems
  • Mobile devices
  • Data collection and retention
  • Monitoring and gathering of information on company systems
  • Background check policies and vetting of employees

You need to enact enhanced procedures that dictate how new hires can access the company’s crown jewels and other systems. Third parties that provide contractors should demonstrate the same. When drafting policies, you need to ensure all important stakeholders are coordinated—including human resources, information technology, and legal. All the employees should be aligned with these policies, especially the incident response plan, data security, and cybersecurity. You need to notify your staff that they shouldn’t expect privacy if they are using personal devices for business purposes.

  1. Keep firewalls up to date

It is even more challenging to create and manage the safe environment because of the proliferation of personal devices such as phones and tablets being used for work, as well as the increased use of cloud-based services. This exactly where firewall helps protect your crucial data. While firewalls block potential hackers from robbing your business of valuable data, they still allow for outward communication such as email and legitimate incoming communication. So your IT security solutions are only as good as your last update, and you need to regularly update anti-malware programs.

If you are using some device to initiate updates, make sure to complete in a timely manner to remain secure. Besides, one of your best bets is to get a cloud-based, constantly evolving firewall. Since new threats are evolving at an exponential rate, so all your security systems need to be in a constant state of update in order to counter them. The newer version of firewalls should be empowered with Intrusion Prevention Systems (IPS), Data Loss Prevention (DLP), dual-stack IPv4 and IPv6 Support, and an Integrated Secure Wireless Controller.

  1. Reward employees who take right steps towards security and transparency

If you enforce cybersecurity measures with a push mentality, it is likely that this exercise could fail. Instead of that, incorporate an approach that motivates your employees with recognition and appreciation. Provide opportunities for growth within your company for your employees who take cybersecurity seriously. Reward the ones who make right decisions and right steps towards security and transparency. You can also offer them a chance to earn an advanced degree in cybersecurity. Recognize the efforts of the employees who find malicious emails by sharing them with everyone.

You can also incorporate the process of gamification. The concept of gamification essentially means applying game principle to a situation. The various aspects of this principle are: 1) Goal establishment, 2) Rules, 3) Feedback, and 4) Participation is voluntary. So whoever participates in the cybersecurity programs with utmost fervour, they must be rewarded right away. With incentivized awareness, you create a structure that not only empowers employees but motivates them to a lot extent as well. This will surely help them achieve beyond expectations.

Bottom Line

Workplace cybersecurity depends a lot on the expertise and disposition of your employees. You need to create a culture that not only strengthens employees’ knowledge but incentivise their efforts towards enhancing the state of cybersecurity and transparency. Using right tools and technologies will further help you create solid measures that ensure your workplace safety.

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