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The First Line of Defense Against Cybercrime: Employees

Insights» Essential Tools & Technologies

December 1, 2017by Marketing

Organizations lose approximately $445 billion per year to cybercrime and more than 70 percent of those companies are small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs). Many SMB leaders don’t realize that having employees trained on the latest cybersecurity threats can help prevent, detect, or deter cybercrimes.

The Importance of Training Your Employees

Every employee in your organization with access to corporate data and devices needs cybersecurity training. Insider fraud accounts for as much as 47 percent of all cybercrime losses. Every device needs addressing, too, especially if workers use personal devices for company business. Each device is a potential target for malicious actors.

The most common SMB cyber threats are social engineering, phishing emails, malware, unpatched devices, and unmanaged mobile devices. Employees who know how to identify those threat traits are more likely to eliminate them before problems arise. Both initial training and ongoing instruction are critical to ensuring employees know the basics — and learn about new emerging threats.

Four Fundamental Guides

Here are four simple procedures for training employees:

1. Establish program prevention rules.

A clear set of standards about what workers can and can’t install on their work machines can help reduce some risks. Hackers use unfamiliar programs to download viruses, bugs, and malware, so employees should delete anything that looks suspicious in Tweets, online ads or any other transmissions. High spam standards can also help defend against inadvertent intrusions.

2. Set sound password standards.

To limit the extent of a breach, each employee should assign a new and different password to each of her or his accounts. Each password should include a variation of upper- and lowercase letters, numerals, and special characters. In addition, employees should write down and store passwords in safe places away from their devices.

3. Have a back-up plan.

A regular habit of backing data up can also save the company in the long run in the event of an intrusion or corruption. Either set a corporatewide backup strategy or establish a schedule for each employee to back up her or his work and store the backup files safely in an unconnected server.

4. Encourage communication.

Sometimes, the best deterrence is talking about cybersecurity issues around the office. When every employee is invited to share his or her concerns about suspicious activities, all employees understand that company leaders are serious about eliminating cybercrime threats.

The most important aspects of employee training and education are consistency and repetition. Ensuring all employees receive the same directives, training and reinforcement on a regular basis helps business leaders maintain a savvy, well-educated and safe workforce.