Cybersecurity Awareness: Educating Employees

When it comes to cybersecurity, most people think of software and hardware solutions. But when it comes to the security of your small business, the most harmful factor may be the people who help it grow - your employees. In fact, human error accounts for almost 90 percent of all cyberattack claims.

With over 60 percent of all cyberattacks targeted towards small businesses, SMBs like yours are more susceptible than ever to being breached. But you don't need to be a cybersecurity professional to secure your business. Just taking some simple steps and educating your employees can go a long way to preventing a potentially devastating cyberattack.

Here are six steps that you can take to help educate your employees and keep your business secure:  

1. Use strong passwords
Educate your employees on password best practices. Things like making sure passwords are eight characters long, using a combination of letters, numbers, and special characters, and updating passwords regularly can make it significantly more difficult to crack your companies passwords.

2. Learn how to identify phishing emails
A staggering 97 percent of people can't identify a sophisticated phishing email. And with phishing emails being the primary conduit for malware it's vital to your business's security that you and your employees are able to spot them immediately. Emails that are overly alarming, contain spelling mistakes, have strange attachments, or ask you to provide sensitive information should set off red flags in your head.  

3. Utilize two-factor authentication
Two-factor authentication provides an additional layer of security for you and your business. It usually requires a password and then a second piece of information or identification before access is allowed.

4. Secure employee devices
Many businesses - big and small - have a BYOD policy (Bring Your Own Device) that allows employees to use their own personal devices to access company information. Monitoring which devices have access to company data, making sure they're password/passcode protected, and that they have the latest OS updates are just a few steps that you can take to secure the devices that access your company data on the go.

5. Implement a clean desk policy
Leaving sensitive documents on your desk or copy machine can lead to a data breach. Also, all company computers should be locked to docking stations and should be password protected when left unattended.

6. Have a cyber plan in place
Would your employees know what to do or who to contact if a cyberattack did happen? Knowing what to do, and who to contact, could help prevent further damage. The most important part of any cyber plan is a cyber insurance policy that covers you in the event of a data breach.  

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