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Cybercrime is now well-known as a billion-dollar industry; costing approximately $276,323 per business in Australia. The ever-rising trend of attacks show no signs of slowing, with hackers indiscriminately targeting small-to-medium companies and large enterprises across all industries.

The global impact of COVID-19 has made significant contribution to the expanding culture of cybercrime, with businesses and individual Australians scammed or extorted of their private information through fraudulent, pandemic-related e-mails and texts.

If there was ever a time to improve your company’s data security, now would be it. However, it’s important to note that proper cybersecurity isn’t limited to simply increasing rules and restrictions in the workplace – but cultivating behavioural change, an effective security culture, and having everyone do their part in maintaining protective measures.

Below, we dive into the five steps business owners can take in boosting cybersecurity awareness among employees – and how DDLS can help.

Foster a “cybersecurity” culture

Your first step in improving cybersecurity awareness should be strategizing effective ways of a promoting a strong security culture – a workplace that not only implements the right tools and policies for protection; but additionally trains its members in best practices, employs leadership-driven cyber governance, and encourages a collaborative “team” mindset towards achieving these goals.

Successful cybersecurity starts at the top – thus, it’s vital to have your executive team on board. IT teams should be encouraged to explain the importance of security to higher management, allowing these executives to host productive meetings on current and future security investments. Middle managers should then lead by example and work with employees directly to promote better security practices.

Frequent, open dialogue should also be encouraged across all levels – as this helps nurture transparency on cyber risks and issues amongst employees and those in higher management. This also brings everyone on the same page, helping them understand their part to play in promoting better security and cyber-awareness.

Implement employee training programs

Once you’ve got everyone onboard your campaign, the next step would be to implement regular cybersecurity training.

This not only furthers your workers’ understanding of cybersecurity – and the tools, processes, benefits, and risks involved – but keeps this knowledge up-to-date, consistently equipping them with the latest skills required in threat mitigation, management and escalation.

According to reports by the Australian Computer Society, human error was the leading cause of data breaches recorded in 2019, comprising 67% of attacks under the Notifiable Data Breaches Scheme.

Having a training program can thus address any security skills or knowledge gaps among your employees, highlighting areas such as good password hygiene, social engineering tactics, phishing e-mails; and principles such as corporate data responsibility and compliance with mobile device policy.

An educational strategy such as this provides a direct, hands-on approach towards cyber-awareness – strapping your employees with the tools and know-how they need to avoid common online schemes and to handle potential system risks.

Keep training fun and engaging

Of course, it’s also crucial to keep such training rewarding and entertaining.

Incorporate storytelling into your cyber-awareness campaign. Creative stories allow for greater emotional impact when outlining the values and importance of cybersecurity, making your message and training more memorable. This also helps employees in better retaining information, and provides them with a more engaging form of content under an otherwise “dry” topic.

Incentivizing your training is also encouraged, such as through employee contests. Most workers are naturally competitive; thus, the occasional cybersecurity contest can further engage them with the material being taught, while also providing you and upper management better insight into your workers’ current level of cyber-awareness.

Tests are also a highly effective way of gauging your employee’s current security skills and knowledge; pushing them to truly engage and comprehend their training material.

Whatever your approach may be, the goal is to ensure that workers feel like active participants in your cyber-awareness campaign, rather than as passive subjects of new policies, restrictions, and technical information.

Tailor training to specific groups

To ensure effective security training,  it’s also important to deliver the right kinds to the right people.

This means having to tailor your cybersecurity training material to your specific industry, your specific company needs, and the specific departments within your company.

Employees of different levels and varying roles will likely have differing objectives, banks of experience, prior knowledge, and established skills in cybersecurity; so it’s important that certain areas of training are targeted at the right groups and people in your business.

It’s also vital to take note of the groups that are “higher-risk” than others when dealing with data security (i.e. your human resources and finance departments) – ensuring they receive greater focus and possibly more intensive security training.

When organising talks or training sessions with cybersecurity specialists, it may also help to tailor participants based on their current abilities, interests, experiences, and role within your company.

Targeted training allows for more immediate impact as you work towards greater cyber-awareness; and, since you’re directly addressing the needs of particular groups, workers are far more likely to follow the practices and concepts taught.

Circulate updates on potential threats and incidents throughout the business

Finally, it’s crucial to keep employees of all levels and departments updated on the latest cybersecurity incidents and developments.

It may help to have a regular newsletter or company meeting to discuss the current state of your business’ cybersecurity, and potential steps towards improvement. This is yet another method of directly raising cyber-awareness: encouraging employees and managers to share their concerns, experiences, and assessments upfront.

Discussing recent security incidents as a company also provides the opportunity of analysing their underlying causes – and future steps to take towards preventing them. Such conversations are also an effective way of reinforcing the importance of cybersecurity; and how lapses in good practice can leave a negative impact on the business as a whole.

If face-to-face meetings aren’t feasible on the regular, simply sending out mass e-mails or weekly company newsletters can also help in keeping everyone up to speed. Though it may not be as effective as a discussing security issues and challenges in person, it is still a convenient way of highlighting recent industry developments, business incidents, and major risks to watch out for.

Keep you, your business, and your workers safe – with the right cybersecurity training

Training plays a crucial role in improving one security skills, knowledge, and cyber-awareness; equipping them with the protective abilities to identify, manage, and escalate common and upcoming cyber threats.

DDLS, Australia’s largest provider of corporate IT and process training, provides all business owners (and their employees) with a wide range of cybersecurity training courses – from fundamentals in password safety and attack preparation to specialised certifications provided by CompTIA, EC-Council, and (ISC)2.

Our DDLS Anywhere platform also provides both you and your workers with the option to pursue a virtualised training; allowing access to such learning material on any device, from any location.

Build the protection you need against the rising tide of cybercrime, and enquire with us on a course today.

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