How to Educate Your Staff on Cybersecurity

How to Educate Your Staff on Cybersecurity

Most business owners will picture a malicious hacker as one of their greatest cybersecurity risks, but the truth is that more often than not, the greatest risk lies internally—your employees. After all, your employees are the ones with access to important internal files and intellectual property, and hackers will often target them in an attempt to break into your system and demand ransom for the files they steal. You can’t deter every possible cybersecurity risk to your organization, but a crucial step to protecting your company is to educate your staff on cybersecurity.

It’s vital that your employees have a good understanding of the extent of the information your organization carries and the risks that are associated with mishandling it—regardless if it is unintentional or not. Here’s how you can educate your staff on cybersecurity.

Build a Formal Cybersecurity Training Plan

Before you set off telling your team members about every risk and potential attack, create a formal cybersecurity training plan. Just like any other large organizational change, creating a plan will help ensure that nothing is forgotten or miscommunicated. Work with your IT team to figure out what’s best for your organization. They will have plenty of suggestions and points of reference given their expertise. 

Your training plan should not only outline how you’ll educate your staff on best practices but also what actions to take in response to an active or potential cyberattack. Be sure to answer the following questions:

  • Where and to whom should they report a suspicious email? 
  • What number should they call in the case of an emergency? 
  • How should they report a lost or stolen company device?

It is also considered best practice to establish an internal and external communication plan if your business falls victim to a cyberattack. Hopefully, you will never need the communications, but your team will be very relieved to have them in the case of an attack. Better safe than sorry!

In addition to providing cybersecurity training, implementing file lifecycle guidelines can offer another layer of protection for your business. For instance, if there is no process in place for file deletion or destruction, files could be overlooked or misplaced, opening up an opportunity for a data breach.

Most file lifecycles will include these five basic steps:

  1. Creation: This marks the start of the cycle, where a folder is created in the system and details are logged—including date, time, content, and frequency of access.
  2. Storage: The file is placed in storage where it can be quickly accessed.
  3. Use: This step can involve the file being accessed, shared, or distributed for business. 
  4. Archive: If a file has not been accessed in a certain timespan or has reached a milestone from the date of its creation, it may be archived or moved to less expensive secure storage.
  5. Destruction: A file has reached the end of its lifecycle and will be permanently deleted. With a workflow or process in place, the file will have been tracked for its entire lifecycle, and an audit log with access details will be created.

Clearly Communicate The Risks

Even though most people understand what could happen if sensitive information gets exposed, it’s hard to imagine it happening to you. The bottom line is, just because it’s never happened in the past doesn’t mean it can’t in the future. Many people treat cybersecurity threats as out of sight, out of mind. Don’t just outline what could happen; show your staff what has happened. Use real-life examples to make the threats more concrete. The more risk-informed your staff is, the better!

Find Your Weak Link(s)

Just because you teach people how to recognize an attack doesn’t mean that everyone will take it to heart. You may need to go the extra step and send out simulated phishing emails to see which of your employees might need extra cybersecurity training. This will help you pinpoint potential weak links that impact your cybersecurity while providing an additional preventative measure. 

Make sure to clarify to your team members that the testing and training aren’t about distrusting them, it’s about protecting them. 

Hold Regular Training Sessions

Cyber attacks are ever-evolving, so your training should be, too. Create a culture of cybersecurity by addressing risks and cyber safety in the onboarding process. But once isn’t enough. You’ll want to follow up with quarterly or annual cybersecurity training sessions to keep your employees up-to-date on the latest scams and malware. 

Cybercriminals are becoming more and more sophisticated and convincing, even mirroring the look and language of legitimate companies like universities or banks. As a business, you have to make sure that the information you handle is safe and secure. Since your staff is on the front lines of your business, their education is essential. 

Limit File Access 

Granular permissions and file access tracking are a must-have in your file exchange platform. This allows you to keep a firm grip on which employees can view certain files while also having access to records of who’s viewing what, and when. These are crucial functions for collaboration in remote teams, for employees to share files with clients, and for management and IT to monitor it all. If you’re looking for an easy way to keep your files organized and protected, SmartFile is the file-sharing platform for you.

Leveraging SmartFile to improve your information security can help your organization keep your files safe from damage and unauthorized access. Give it a try for free today — you can start your trial with no credit card required!

SmartFile is a business file mangement platform that gives you more control, compliance and security.