Four top tips for training your staff on cyber-security.
Over the last few years, cyber-attacks have dominated the headlines: global corporations, energy providers, the NHS and even the Democratic National Committee have faced unprecedented security breaches resulting in mass amounts of sensitive information falling into the wrong hands. It seems no-one is truly safe from the cyber-threat, and where cyber-security was once an issue that only concerned IT departments, it has now become one of the greatest areas of risk that an organisation can face.
While advances in technology have certainly come thick and fast in the last decade, data protection and cyber-security are by no means new concepts to us, and we have had significant time to prepare and protect ourselves. Why then, does the UK have “the lowest security maturity level worldwide”? What makes us so vulnerable to cyber-criminals and how can we prevent our networks being infiltrated?
The answer is simple: human error.
It’s the same reason that Steve Harvey announced the runner up as the winner of Miss Universe, and the same reason Faye Dunnaway mistakenly named La La Land as the Best Picture at the Oscars.
The majority of data breaches have occurred as a result of carelessness, or simply a lack of awareness. After all, it only took a convincing but fraudulent email to Hillary Clinton’s campaign manager asking him to “update his Gmail password” for the presidential candidate’s private conversations to be shared with the public.
Building a culture of cyber awareness
Cyber-security affects everyone at all levels of a business. The key is for all staff to understand the implications of a cyber-attack, and never to assume “it won’t happen to us.” With a staff-base informed and trained on all the relevant precautions to be taking, your business or organization is one step closer to cyber-safety.
But how do we build this culture of awareness?
A tailored approach
While staff training has always been critical to compliance with data protection legislation, often is the case that the course chosen to educate staff does very little to engage employees. At best, they take the content on board for a week or two before slowly but surely forgetting once more. When a course is designed to simply spit out information, old ways creep back in because the content was never committed to memory. For a subject as critical as cyber-security, an off-the-shelf solution simply won’t do. A bespoke e-learning solution may take longer to create, but the result is worth the wait: a course that has been designed with your learners in mind and is tailored to their unique needs.
Context is key
It’s hard for learners to be engaged when they feel they’re completing a course for compliance’s sake. Providing context is essential in giving focus to a course and in turn, giving learners a tangible goal to work towards. This is where a bespoke solution can be truly beneficial, as the content will focus on how a cyber-attack would impact your business in specific. To further enhance the focus for the learner, your digital content should be flexible and offer employees tailored content that is appropriate to their role in the business. For example, while content aimed at senior management might highlight the financial implications of a security breach, the content consumed by an executive might detail the reputational damage they could cause to themselves and their employers from a careless mistake.
Keep it real
Once your employees understand the dangers of a poor cyber-security strategy, it’s time for them to experience it first-hand. In order to maximise cyber-awareness through the workforce, it may be worth deploying an immersive training solution that allows learners to see the consequences of their actions in real time. Your cyber-attack simulation can involve a range of different elements: you might even consider adding an Augmented Reality aspect to it, or potentially integrating elements of gamification. In any case, a simulation designed to replicate the speed and complexity of a cyber-breach could be the solution you need to start shifting the culture in your organisation before it’s too late.
Keep it fresh
Cyber-security threats are ever-changing and ever-evolving, and while your training solution may be effective in transforming cyber-behaviour and creating a culture of awareness, it’s essential to keep your digital content updated and stay one step ahead at all times. As emerging technologies continue to revolutionise the way we work and the ‘Bring Your Own Device’ trend grows in popularity, cyber criminals are continually offered fresh new opportunities to steal information. Keeping your staff-base informed on best practices is the key to avoiding a security breach.
The time to act is now.
Remember, no matter how successful your business is, a poor cyber-security strategy and an uninformed workforce can leave your network vulnerable to opportunistic cyber-criminals seeking an easy target. That’s why at Fenturi, we work with organisations around the globe to develop bespoke digital learning experiences that empower employees to take control of their company’s data security.
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