Infosecurity Europe
4-6 June 2024
ExCeL London

Five Ways to Make Sure Your Staff Are Cyber Aware

The people in your organisation are the first line of defence against cybercrime and ransomware attacks. Employees at all levels and across all business functions are the target for threat actor’s social engineering attacks, phishing emails, and scam calls.

Most cyber-attacks involve some form of human behaviour, like a click or a misused password, meaning the cybersecurity habits we adopt can have a severe impact on the organisation.

Ensuring your organisation’s workforce is clued up on cybersecurity best practices is vital to protecting your digital assets.

Here are five tips to help you ensure your workforce is well-equipped in the realm of cybersecurity best practices. 

1. Cybersecurity Training, But Make It Fun 

Training the workforce is an important step in raising cyber awareness and frequency is key, this should be a continuous effort rather than a one-off activity.

Gamify your training or hold contests to encourage employee engagement, there are even digital cyber escape rooms on the market to test staff in a fun way. The more engaged your staff are, the more likely they are to retain the information and put it into practice.

Leverage pivotal moments in the year to enhance your training activity. For example, every October celebrates Cybersecurity Awareness Month, which can be an opportunity to put training activities front and centre of your organisation’s cybersecurity efforts. 

Read more: How to avoid boring cybersecurity awareness training

2. Simulate Phishing Attacks 

Phishing emails continue to be one of the main tools in the arsenal of threat actors. By sending simulated phishing emails, organisations can help train staff on what to look out for in malicious emails.

Simulations can also provide important data to the cybersecurity team on who needs to receive some extra support in this area and could benefit from additional training. 

A word of warning, avoid a shame and blame culture. It is important not to berate those who may have clicked on a link during phishing simulation activity, instead reward those who do well and support those who many need extra information and education in an empathetic manner. 

3. Create a Security-Conscious Culture

Establish cybersecurity champions within the organisation, key members of various departments who are trained to identify and mitigate issues within the day-to-day activities of the business. Typically, these team members will not have security in their job title and do not have a cybersecurity background.

More specifically, regarding DevOps, these champions can help improve communication between the development team and the security team. This can help introduce security practices into the development team.

This activity can help build a cybersecurity culture at all levels. While having board-level and C-suite buy-in is vital, it is important the entire workforce is both committed to and enthusiastic about cybersecurity. 

4. Establish Strong Communication Channels

Encourage open communication about security risks and make it easy for employees to report suspicious activity without fear of reprisal.

Set up an email address for employees to ask questions or raise concerns. Create a content hub with cybersecurity news, tips and company updates.

For large organisations, it may be easy to spend time collating and distributing material via a Teams or Slack channel, or event regular newsletters. For smaller organisations, explore cybersecurity awareness subscriptions that offer regular content for you to use within your organisation.

When rolling out new initiatives, like a password manager tool, make sure they are accompanied by a communications plan. This will help staff understand why they should be using the new tool and what benefits it brings to them. Also, accept feedback on these initiatives as this can help to improve their effectiveness in the future. 


5. Implement Strong Policies 

Make sure you have security policies for passwords, email, browsing and the use of mobile or personal devices.

It is important that these policies are easy to access and clear on what staff can and cannot do. Ensure sure staff are aware of the reporting channels and that it is well communicated how to report an incident or suspicious activity.

Try including these policies as part of the onboarding process for new members of staff. Use your communications about cybersecurity to remind employees about the policies and any updates that may have occurred. 

Bonus: Make it Personal 

Ok, there are of course more than five ways to make sure your staff are cyber aware.

Make cybersecurity personally relevant to your staff and show them how they can protect themselves from cybercriminals outside of business hours.

When there is a personal connection to cybersecurity training and an employee feels like it is benefitting them as well as the business, they are more likely to adopt strong security behaviours 24/7.

Explain how scams and social engineering attacks could affect their loved ones and cause financial losses at home. This can enhance loyalty to a business as the company is looking to protect them at work and at home. 

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