Teach Your Employees About Security Awareness


If you didn’t think data security poses a risk to your business before, recent events should make you think again.

Suffering a data loss is no longer something to be talked about in hush tones. Industry regulators and other interested parties are moving in to ensure compliance, and companies need to act now. A minor data security breach could see you paying millions of pounds in fines or 4% of your annual turnover.

Research in the anatomy of major data security breaches shows that insiders pose the biggest threat. Data breaches can be caused by malicious employees or through acts of ignorance. Therefore, companies should deliberately train staff on data security to be safe from hackers and accidental breaches.

7 Effective Internal Security Training Programs to Implement

1) Online Classes- Continuous Training

Your employees spend most of their time online. Why not use the web to train them continuously?

Online classes are flexible as they can be self-paced, dripped, or customized according to the needs of individuals. You can even use data on your employees’ online activity to identify those who need more awareness on a particular security topic.

2) Make It Part of Your Culture

It’s not practical to keep training staff on the same information security topics every other day. Therefore, structure your training and briefs in such a way that every employee knows that security begins with them. Don’t pull all your security policies in a single manual for employees to go through.

Every staff member needs to be aware of their role in data security. Every transaction or task they are involved in should be done with data security and compliance in mind. Also, teach employees how to identify risky behavior amongst themselves and how to report.

3) Make a Compliance-Based Training Program

Use the PCI, DSS, and HIPAA regulatory framework when drafting your internal security awareness training programs. These regulations give a clear outline of security practices that every business should have in place.

Businesses dealing with customer data need to be aware of GDPR policies, while those handle financial data need to know where they stand with regard to PCI DSS compliance.

4) Update Your Training Programs for New Threats

Security training is not a one-off exercise. New attack vectors are always emerging, and most of your employees may not have an interest in updating themselves.

Security training should, therefore, be carried out on an ongoing basis with new topics being introduced every session. For instance, getting a virus infection through mobile phones was unheard of in the past years. However, viruses targeting mobile devices are now all over, and they present a new threat to company IT infrastructure.

5) Tailor Your Training According to Employee Awareness Levels

When planning your data security training sessions, you might realize that some employees (such as IT staff) need less training while others are completely green in the area. It’s important to understand and appreciate the security awareness levels within your organization. Use questionnaires and other primary data collection methods to find out what your staff members know about security. This will help you structure your training based on awareness levels.

Still, on the same point, new staff members should be taken through the company’s security policy before they start working. Studies show that most insider threats emanate from new employees who don’t understand some security procedures of where they work.

Various network monitoring systems can identify risky online behavior within an organization. For instance, some software can identify employees that visit and download content from risky sites. More sophisticated tools can identify unusual user behavior right down to their typing speed or usage patterns. Use this data to build individualized training materials for each employee within your organization.

6) Interactive Security Training

This is another area where the use of web-based training solutions can help. Instead of holding traditional training sessions, use interactive learning programs delivered through the web to get your staff engaged.

Gamification is an emerging trend used in corporate training. Use it. There are numerous games that can be used to teach basic security concepts to non-technical employees.

7) Implement a Top-Down Approach to Security Awareness Training

One of the most effective ways of getting an important message across an organization is by using top management. Involve senior staff members such as department heads and executives in spreading security awareness messages in the organization.

Security training should also involve top-level leaders in the organization. This is an opportune time for employees at all levels to interact and be involved in a program that affects the whole organization. Seeing top-level staff members taking ownership of the company’s security policy will encourage lower-level employees to follow suit.

Employees are the greatest internal data breach agents. Therefore, organizations need to take an active role in educating employees about data security and compliance requirements.


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