A cybersecurity training guide for your hybrid workforce
While the hybrid work setting has been around since the early 90s, it has grown in popularity since the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. Many industry experts are already claiming it’s here to stay.
As more and more companies shift to hybrid work models, employees must be adequately trained in cybersecurity best practices to protect the company and themselves. A cyber-attack can have severe consequences for the business, its employees, and its clientele. Problems like financial loss, damage to reputation, identity theft, extended downtimes, and personal information leaks are the last thing anyone wants in today’s cut-throat environment.
It doesn’t matter if it’s permanent, temporary, partial, or total. Your teams need to know how to maintain cybersecurity measures in a hybrid setting. This guide will help you get started on doing just that.
First, what is cyber security?
Cybersecurity refers to all measures aiming to protect computer systems, networks, and devices from digital threats. These threats can come in the form of malware, hackers, phishing attacks, and other types of cyber-attacks that compromise the security and integrity of sensitive data and systems, putting people relying on them at risk.
As cybercriminals get more sophisticated in their methods to sabotage system and data integrity, more businesses must invest in hybrid work solutions. Furthermore, it should be a top-down initiative. That means every part of the company must follow the best practices of digital protection.
The most critical part, of course, is the employees who must interact with data and systems more regularly than others. To prepare them for contributing to your cybersecurity, here’s what you need to cover as you train them:
- Identify your company’s unique cybersecurity risks
The first step in developing a cybersecurity training program is to identify the specific risks your company faces. Every industry and company type must deal with unique demands, needs, and vulnerabilities. Taking this into account lets you know where your data and systems can take a hit. For example, healthcare establishments collect a lot of sensitive information from their patients, making their databases a prime target for scammers and identity thieves.
By understanding risks first, you know where to focus your training efforts.
- Start with the basics
Ensure all employees understand the importance of strong passwords and the need to keep them confidential. Encourage the use of passphrases, which are longer and more secure than traditional passwords. Also, emphasize the importance of not sharing login credentials with others and regularly updating passwords.
- Teach employees how to spot phishing attacks
Phishing attacks involve fake emails or websites that trick people into divulging sensitive information. They remain a common form of cyber-attack due to how they play into urgency and complacency among your employees.
Train your employees to look for red flags such as unusual sender addresses, urgent requests for personal information, poorly written content, and links to unfamiliar websites.
If a team member receives an email that they believe may be a phishing attack, they should immediately report it to their IT department or supervisor. Make this a key part of teaching them what to do when dealing with strange, inexplicably covert, or vaguely threatening communications.
- Use two-factor authentication
This is one of the easiest ways to add an extra layer of security. It requires users to provide a second form of authentication, such as a code sent to their phone or email address, before granting them any form of access. In turn, it discourages cybercriminals from trying to penetrate your systems.
Ensure that two-factor authentication is available for all systems and accounts your employees use. This may include email, file storage, and collaboration tools. You can partner with providers specializing in business protection for easier setup and implementation.
- Utilize encrypted communication
Encrypting communication protects sensitive information from being intercepted and accessed by unauthorized parties. Encourage team members to use encrypted messaging apps or virtual private networks when working remotely and sharing sensitive information, such as login credentials or confidential documents.
- Provide cybersecurity resources and ongoing training
Cyberthreats evolve constantly. So, it’s essential to provide employees with access to cybersecurity resources, such as guides and tip sheets, as well as ongoing training to keep them updated on the latest threats and best practices. This could include regular reminders about safe browsing habits and introductions to newer, more effective tools for protection.
Keep everyone on board
By empowering your hybrid workforce to contribute to your cybersecurity efforts, you help a large part of your organization cover its bases in keeping both data and systems protected. Consequently, you safeguard your business and build on the trust your clients and stakeholders gave. This clearly makes investing in cybersecurity training a crucial step for your business’s longevity.