Cybersecurity is an issue many business owners try to put off for as long as possible. The subject matter is complex, and in their eyes, they’d rather focus on what generates revenue. But if they fail to protect their systems and networks adequately, cybercriminals are more likely to exploit vulnerabilities and take advantage. Stopping that from happening involves using your employees as your first line of defense.

While your employees aren’t cybersecurity professionals, many of them specialize in other fields. They can be taught best practices to decrease your risk of cybercriminals attacking your IT infrastructure.

Even though it may be challenging to get employees to buy-in, implementing cybersecurity measures is necessary to secure your networks and systems.

Transparency is key

Your employees may feel a bit uneasy about you implementing new cybersecurity measures, for a good reason. It’s not that they don’t want you to protect your business and its assets; they do (they’re more aware of what’s going on in the world than you may think). They’re simply concerned about their privacy and would rather you not be intrusive with your actions. When you use terms such as “monitoring,” some of your employees may feel as though you’re watching them closely or keeping tabs on productivity, both of which couldn’t be further from the truth. Explain that to them when reviewing your company’s approach to cybersecurity with them and what they can expect from you. 

Educate and train your employees on cybersecurity

First and foremost, your employees are your first line of defense only if they’re adequately trained. Train them to identify and respond to common threats quickly (e.g., phishing, ransomware, social engineering). Educate your employees on the ever-changing cybersecurity threat landscape. They must understand the lay of the land and what it means for them and your company. If you don’t have someone on staff who’s knowledgeable in cybersecurity, hire an outside firm to help you with developing a cybersecurity awareness training program for your employees and executing it.

Provide ongoing training

As the saying goes, practice makes perfect. Cybersecurity awareness training should be an ongoing process. It’s not a one-time deal. One slideshow or video isn’t going to cut it. Cybersecurity awareness training should begin during the onboarding process and continue throughout the lifespan of your company. It’s an area that’s constantly changing and evolving, as cybercriminals are constantly working on new types of cyberattacks, many of which are becoming increasingly complex. 

Reward employees when it’s warranted

Make cybersecurity awareness training fun for your employees. If an employee thwarts a cybersecurity attack, award him or her. You can also provide financial incentives for completing cybersecurity awareness training or send out thank you emails when employees correctly identify phishing scams. By rewarding employees, you turn a serious topic into a fun one, thereby eliminating many of the concerns they may have had about being monitored or losing their privacy. 

While it’s nearly impossible to stay ahead of cybercriminals, correctly securing your business isn’t impossible if you take the necessary steps, educating your employees on the constantly evolving threat landscape, and providing them with cybersecurity awareness training.

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