Verizon’s 2021 Data Breach Investigations Report found that 85% of breaches involved the human element. This means that employees are often the weak link in an organization’s security posture. To combat this, companies must provide comprehensive security awareness training to help their employees understand and recognize common security threats.
When it comes to security awareness training, there are 12 essential topics that companies must cover to ensure their employees are properly equipped to defend against cyberattacks.
Phishing is one of the most common attack methods and is often used to gain initial access to a target’s system. Employees should be trained on how to recognize phishing emails and what to do if they receive one. The most basic thing to remember is to never click on links or attachments in messages from unknown senders.
2. Social engineering
Social engineering is another common attack method that relies on human interaction to trick victims into divulging information or performing actions that would compromise security. Employees should be aware of common social engineering techniques, such as baiting and pretexting, and know how to spot them.
3. Passwords and authentication
Employees should be trained on the best practices that help protect accounts from being compromised. They must learn how to create strong passwords and use two-factor or multifactor authentication whenever possible. They should also know never to reuse passwords or write them down.
4. Removable media
Removable media, such as USB drives and CDs, can be used to introduce malware into a system. Employees should be educated on the risks of using removable media and never insert these devices into their work computers unless they’re sure the contents are safe.
5. Physical security
Physical security is as important as cybersecurity, but it’s often overlooked. Employees should be educated on the importance of securing physical access to facilities and equipment. This includes locking doors, keeping workstations clean, and being mindful of their surroundings.
6. Mobile device security
Bring your own device or BYOD policies have made mobile device security a top concern for organizations. Employees should be trained on how to keep their devices secure, such as by installing security software and not sharing passwords. Encrypting data and using biometric authentication also help to protect sensitive company information or files on mobile devices.
7. Cloud security
With more and more data being stored and processed in the cloud, it’s crucial for employees to understand how to keep this information secure. Even if cloud service providers already have robust security measures in place, employees should still know how to protect data in the cloud. This includes accessing cloud apps from secure connections and encrypting sensitive information.
8. Remote working
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, remote working has become the new norm for many organizations. Employees should be properly trained on how to set up a secure home office, which includes using a virtual private network (VPN) and avoiding sharing work devices with other people, like family members.
Employees who are working remotely or on the move should be aware of the risks of using public Wi-Fi. These networks can be easily compromised and used to intercept data or infect devices with malware. If employees must connect to a public Wi-Fi network, they should use a VPN to encrypt their traffic and protect their data. Otherwise, connecting to a trusted Wi-Fi network or using mobile data are safer options.
10. Social media use
Social media can be a goldmine for attackers looking to gather information on potential targets. This is why employees should be trained on how to use social media safely and avoid sharing too much personal information. They should also be aware of the risks of posting about work-related topics, such as company projects or clients.
11. Internet and email use
Employees should be given guidelines on how to safely browse the internet and use email. This includes accessing only trusted websites, not clicking on links from unknown senders, and not downloading email attachments from untrustworthy sources. Educating employees on safe internet habits seems like a no-brainer, but it’s still one of the most important things companies can do to improve their cybersecurity.
12. Incident response
In the event of a security incident, employees should know how to report it and who to contact. They should also be familiar with the company’s incident response plan so they know what to expect and how they can mitigate damages. Proper incident response training can help minimize the damage of a security breach and get the organization back up and running as quickly as possible.
By covering these topics in security awareness training, companies can help ensure their employees are better equipped to protect themselves and the organization from cyberthreats. Cybersecurity is a shared responsibility, and it’s crucial that employees are given the tools and knowledge they need to play their part.
Do you need help developing a security awareness training program for your organization or fine-tuning your existing program? Contact outsourceIT today to see how our experts can help.