One major problem organizations worldwide have to deal with continuously is cyber-attacks. Studies show that the rate of cyber-attacks against businesses has doubled in the last five years. Cybercriminals are always inventing new strategies to exploit security vulnerabilities and steal valuable company resources. Hence, organizations need to take proactive steps towards security awareness training for their employees.
So, what fundamental topics should be covered in your curriculum when it comes to security awareness basics? Here are some important issues to consider.
Hackers and other cybercriminals lure unsuspecting victims into clicking on suspicious links directing them to insecure websites. They also use malicious software, files, and attachments to achieve sinister motives and attack systems and data. This malicious software (“malware”) can come in many forms, such as spyware, adware, and ransomware. Employees need to be aware and trained about the various forms and dangers of malware attacks and avoid falling victim.
Passwords are essential credentials for online and offline accounts, devices, and networks. With many accounts, wallets, and tools, remembering all of these credentials can be a struggle. Hence, employees may use the same passwords on multiple accounts. Sadly, it makes them vulnerable to chains of attacks should any account get compromised. Therefore, always insist that employees use a different password for each account. Another helpful tip is to combine random characters and use multi-factor authentication for highly-critical accounts.
Although it can appear safe and convenient, Wi-Fi, especially public networks, can adversely affect data security and hamper information confidentiality. Hackers can easily intercept sent packets and pull a “man-in-the-middle” attack. Therefore, always provide secure (encrypted, such as via a VPN) private networks for your employees to use, and always ensure that sensitive company information is not sent over public networks.
Encryption is an indispensable mechanism for data security. It helps to ensure the data integrity shared across networks, information stored on websites and apps, and even phone and device contents. With encryption, you can protect corporate information from unauthorized access and communicate with employees via confidential channels. Hence, your security awareness should cover the fundamental methods of encryption and the numerous advantages.
Losing business data can be disastrous to any organization and stall the smooth flow of business. As data encryption helps preserve corporate data integrity by keeping it confidential, backing up corporate data promotes the availability of the said data, even after an attack. While training your employees on security awareness, ensure that they understand the importance of routine backups and choose those to handle this responsibility directly.
Safe Use of Mobile Devices
Sometimes, employees have to work through their mobile devices, share and store sensitive and confidential information within those devices, especially while working remotely. This significantly increases the potential for unauthorized access and poses a huge cybersecurity threat during and outside work hours.
To promote security awareness, users and employees should protect their devices with strong passwords and adequately encrypt them. This goes a long way to ensure that attackers would not easily intercept and access any sensitive information stored or exchanged over mobile devices.
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