Raising cybersecurity awareness is critical to protecting your business, your employees, and your customer data. Cyber threats are continuing to evolve and become increasingly sophisticated. In the financial year 2021–22*, the average loss of cybercrime reports across businesses increased by 14 percent compared to the previous financial year.
These threats make it crucial for organisations to educate employees about potential risks. By promoting cybersecurity awareness, businesses can empower employees to recognise and respond to common threats such as phishing, social engineering, and malware. Increased awareness leads to a more proactive and vigilant workforce that can identify suspicious activities, report security incidents promptly, and implement best practices to protect data and systems. It helps foster a culture of cybersecurity, making everyone responsible for maintaining a secure digital environment and reducing the overall risk of cyberattacks.
Here are some steps you can take to promote cybersecurity awareness among employees:
- Develop a cybersecurity policy: Create a comprehensive policy that outlines the company’s expectations and guidelines regarding cybersecurity. Clearly define acceptable use of technology, password requirements, data handling procedures, and reporting protocols for any security incidents.
- Conduct employee training: Organise regular training sessions to educate employees about cybersecurity best practices. Cover topics such as password hygiene, phishing attacks, social engineering, malware, common cybersecurity threats, mitigation techniques and the importance of software updates. Make the training engaging and interactive to maximise retention. This includes equipping them with the right resources to further enhance their knowledge such as articles, videos, infographics, and online courses.
- Implement strong password practices: Emphasise the significance of strong, unique passwords. Encourage employees to use password managers to generate and store complex passwords securely. Enable multi-factor authentication (MFA) wherever possible to add an extra layer of security.
- Secure devices and networks: Educate employees on securing their devices and home networks when working remotely. Encourage the use of secure Wi-Fi networks, encrypted connections (VPN), and regular software updates to protect against vulnerabilities.
- Regularly communicate security updates: Keep employees informed about the latest cybersecurity threats and vulnerabilities. Send out regular updates via email, internal newsletters, or dedicated communication channels to raise awareness about emerging risks and provide guidance on how to mitigate them.
- Conduct simulated phishing exercises: Teach employees how to identify and report phishing emails, suspicious links, and requests for personal or sensitive information. Then test your employees’ readiness by running simulated phishing exercises. This helps identify areas where additional training may be needed and reinforces the importance of staying vigilant.
- Foster a culture of reporting: Encourage employees to report any suspicious activity or potential security breaches promptly. Create a culture that rewards responsible reporting rather than punishing employees for unintentional mistakes. Establish a clear reporting procedure for security incidents.
- Regularly assess and improve: Continuously evaluate the effectiveness of your cybersecurity awareness program. Gather feedback from employees and adjust your training and communication strategies accordingly. Stay up to date with the evolving threat landscape and adapt your training materials accordingly.
Remember that cybersecurity awareness is an ongoing process, and regular reinforcement and education are essential to keep your organisation protected. You can keep up-to-date with the latest alerts and news around cyber security.
*’ACSC Annual Cyber Threat Report 2022‘, Australian Cyber Security Centre, June 2022