Running Your Business

Security Awareness Training: Prevent Your Workplace From Being Hacked


  • Cybersecurity is a major concern for small, medium and large businesses alike

  • Security awareness training can prevent data breaches and phishing attacks from disrupting your business continuity

  • Employees are the first line of defense and must receive security awareness training regularly

Posted by December 28, 2018

Cybersecurity is a major concern even in small offices. In today’s technology-rife workplace, hackers can access sensitive data, steal medical records and virtually halt operations, taking over operating systems and even demanding a monetary payoff. In fact, mobile malware attacks increased 54 percent in 2018 and the average 10,000-employee company spends $3.7 million dollars a year dealing with phishing attacks.

Security awareness training is key to preventing dangerous attacks, information compromise and cyber espionage. Employees—the first defense against cybercriminals—must know how potential attacks occur and what they can do to prevent viruses, malware, phishing scams and cyberwarfare from negatively affecting the workplace. With October being National Cybersecurity Awareness Month, this is the perfect time to educate your colleagues.

The Importance of Awareness Training for Employees

In a 2014 study on security awareness, it was found that 50 percent of employees did not receive security awareness training (and half of those who did only received it annually). The truth is that employees are considered the most vulnerable access points for hackers.

Every day, workers upload sensitive data to the cloud, store confidential information on their tablets and smartphones, click links to phishing scams, open emails from unknown senders, neglect to change passwords often enough and occasionally leave mobile devices unattended. These habits need to be addressed and amended.

Security Training Best Practices

In order to adequately protect your workplace, HR must invest in—and implement—regular employee security awareness training. Here are several guidelines you and your coworkers should abide by in order to protect the larger organization from costly hacks.

Treat Mobile Devices as Suspect

Businesses cannot assume that workers’ devices are safe. In fact, companies should consider them compromised. Since malware occurs when third-party apps are downloaded to personal devices (and employees then use that device for work) cybercriminals can easily gain access without notice.

While no single security vendor or workplace policy is foolproof, employees should be aware that untrusted apps on mobile devices are problematic. HR may mitigate the risk with either a policy against personal devices used at work or a rule prohibiting third-party apps on those devices.

Make Employees Aware of Wi-Fi Risks

Employees that use Wi-Fi hotspots and unsecured Wi-Fi networks at coffee shops and lunch cafés may pose a risk to office security. It’s important to teach employees safe Wi-Fi practices, as this can help prevent cyberattacks.

Discuss Social Media Awareness

Targeting victims through social media is another effective cybercriminal tactic. To protect against this happening at your organization, employees should receive social media awareness training. This could help them avoid common pitfalls—such as posting specific information about work projects, office closings or vacations—that criminal “followers” could use nefariously.

Hold Security Training Regularly

No matter what type of security system your office has, quarterly trainings should be held regularly. Rather than one long, annual session that employees forget soon after, make security awareness training a routine part of your operations. The threat landscape changes constantly, so employees must be kept up to date.

Balance Security With Usability

HR should ensure that security measures are easy to understand and adhere to. If the protections put in place won’t allow employees to operate in an efficient way, they’re likely to use “work-arounds,” which could make hacks more likely. Balancing security with usability is the key to compliance.

The right security training is not only crucial to preventing cyber-related attacks, it empowers employees (and the office as a whole) to be vigilant and prepared in the event of a breach.

Looking for resources that can help you maintain the security of your benefits plans? Explore the online tools available through the United Concordia Dental website.

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