Five ways to promote employee cyber awareness

Johannesburg, 03 Jun 2022

After building an impenetrable cyber security infrastructure, you also have to safeguard your employees. This is because no security infrastructure is impenetrable without the support of employees. Hackers understand this and that’s why many companies encounter social engineering attacks. The best way to work around with insider threats is to promote a culture of cyber security among employees. The following five ways will help you promote employee cyber security awareness.

1. Understand the threats your enterprise faces

Any cyber security awareness programme will fail if you don't understand your cyber security ecosystem. Understand your business, the assets want to protect and the threats you want to protect them from. Every organisation might have a different threat landscape, but there are commonalities such as the social engineering attacks like phishing e-mails, malware links and ransomware. Understanding your business's cyber vulnerabilities is your first step towards building a strong cyber infrastructure, including your employees.

2. Make cyber security an organisational culture

Your next step is to make cyber security every employee's role. Organisational culture is the last line of enterprise defence in cyber security. It's no longer the sole role of the IT department or a specialist with a master of cyber security to protect the enterprise from cyber threats. Every gadget in the organisation is a target. All employees must ensure the company's devices, networks and websites are safe from exposure to cyber threats. Employees must understand things like strong passwords, network protection, bad links, phishing e-mails to avoid exposing the organisation to threats that can cause damage.

3. Training, coach mindfulness

Malicious insiders in the company present a great threat to the enterprise, but carelessness and innocent mistakes from employees are the greatest enterprise security risk. It's the carelessness that attracts black hats, phishing, malware or ransomware attacks. Some employees aren't aware of phishing e-mails and click them without knowing they are attracting social engineering scams. Once you know your organisation's potential threats and risk profile, train and educate employees about security mindfulness to help them avoid being avenues for threat penetration.

4. Gain executive buy-in

Successful cyber security awareness should begin at the top. Awareness education and training alone aren't enough. The executive needs to take a lead role in all aspects of cyber security and embrace the organisation's efforts. Make the executives understand the importance of awareness and watchfulness and why prizing data security is important to the organisation. When the executive buys the idea, every other cyber security programme will be easy to implement.

5. Continuous cyber security

You need to understand that cyber security awareness is not something like a project that you can mark as 'finished'. Cyber security has to be continuous. Everything in this digital age is constantly evolving, including cyber threats. Today's malware isn't like malware 20 years ago, and the constant technological evolution means more sophisticated threats are born every day.

The moment you relax your cyber security awareness programme is when your attackers arrive. Keep updating your awareness and infrastructure to keep up with the latest technology and threat protection techniques. Educate and train employees constantly to help them stay ahead of the threats.

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As cyber crime stays on the rise, companies need to take important steps to protect their data. One such step is employee cyber security awareness. Revamping your IT department with cyber security specialists is important, but their success in protecting your organisation depends on the awareness and mindfulness of your employees. Making cyber security a company culture and gaining executive buy-in will help you attain great steps in cyber security.