Why is Employee Cybersecurity Awareness and Training Important for SMBs

Cybersecurity has been an important part of technology discussions for many years. The changes that were brought about by the pandemic such as where people work and the tools they use not only helped businesses operating but also helped accelerate the number of attacks and the sophistication of cybercriminals.

Protecting your business against cybercriminals is essential and needs to be a priority for every SMB and a key component is cybersecurity awareness and training your employees.

 

Why Is Cybersecurity Training So Important?

Consider this: According to the 2020 Cybersecurity Report from the Canadian Internet Registration Authority, 3 in 10 have seen a spike in the volume of attacks during the pandemic. 

The necessity of working from home emphasized the need for digitization. Given the circumstances, many businesses made the shift quite rapidly. 

Unfortunately, this meant that a few key cyber defenses were absent or sub-par. This left companies vulnerable to cyberattacks due to inadequate security or limited employee cybersecurity awareness. 

Having  staff that is aware and knowledgeable about cybersecurity is crucial to minimizing the risk of cyberattacks.

 

What Should Cybersecurity Training Include?

Employee training should cover the following topics.

 

Overview of Cybersecurity Threats

Cybersecurity threats take on many forms. If each employee is educated on what to look out for, they might think twice before making a click that breaches the virtual walls of your business.

Teach your employees to recognize some of the most common cyberattacks such as:

  1. Malware: Defined as any malicious form of software that is designed to harm a computer system. 
  2. Phishing: Occurs when a hacker uses a false identity to trick someone into providing sensitive or personal information, downloading malware or visiting a website containing malware. 
  3. Ransomware: Involves a cybercriminal locking a victim’s computer system or files and holding the information for ransom.   
  4. Social Engineering: These types of attacks rely on human and social interaction. Cybercriminals use the information they find online to trick victims into providing sensitive information or clicking on malicious links.

 

Password Security

Employees should be trained on good password creation and hygiene. Things such as integrating letters, numbers, and symbols for maximum password strength and not using the same passwords used to access company systems to access personal apps or tools are important to minimizing risks of an attack.

 

Company Data Safety

Take the time to walk employees through the company’s data protection policies. This will ensure individual awareness. Use this time to answer any questions or clarify any points of contention.

Any new employees should undergo this training immediately. Long-term employees should also be regularly reminded of their obligation to protect company data and how best to ensure this. 

If there is a policy change for whatever reason, make sure that all employees are made aware of the updates.  

 

Safety Policies for Email, Internet & Social Media Use  

This all about protecting the company against risky employee behaviour online.   

Make sure employees know not to click on any links from unknown sources. Reiterate that they need to avoid anything flagged by antivirus software. 

Clearly communicate rules for the use of the internet, social media, or non-work-related emails on company devices. The general rule of thumb: limit unnecessary activity as best you can.

 

Why Businesses Need to Have a Cybersecurity Training Program

In a nutshell, cybersecurity training programs will reduce the risk of data breaches. Employees will be better equipped to recognize red flags. This will help prevent any costly mistakes – saving time and money in the long run.  

Another important consideration is cybersecurity insurance, something all companies should invest in. Often, the insurance policy will require companies to have a cybersecurity training program in place. Without one, you simply cannot be insured, and you will leave your company vulnerable.

Good cybersecurity requires constant assessment of company risks and policy updates. This means that you need to regularly revisit employee training. It is therefore useful to have a basic training framework in place to build on. 

 

To Sum Up

In today’s digital age, everyone can benefit from cybersecurity training. In many organizations, employees are woefully underprepared when it comes to protecting themselves and their company from cyberattacks.  

MicroAge can help provide regular cybersecurity training and testing to help your employees become cybersafe and reduce the risk of cyberattacks. Contact your local MicroAge to see how we can help.

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As service providers to more than 300 companies, the dedicated professionals at MicroAge are second to none when it comes to managed services. By improving efficiency, cutting costs and reducing downtime, we can help you achieve your business goals!

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