Since the dawn of the pandemic, many companies and organisations have resorted to working from home, and while this provides employees with a more comfortable work experience, it comes with its own unique set of risks. Employees using their own devices for work purposes, accessing their own (and usually unsecure) network connections along with occasional misuse of devices can leave companies vulnerable to numerous digital risks. Even if your business has purchased world-class data protection technology, it will still fall short if your employees do not possess cyber awareness.

There is a common misconception that cybersecurity awareness training is only for IT professionals, however, this is most certainly not the case. All employees and the business itself can and will benefit from sufficient employee training. It has become essential to enforce cybersecurity awareness in all levels and departments throughout your organization. From the CEO to the front desk clerk; everyone within the organization handles potentially sensitive company data and needs to know how to protect that data.

Cybercriminals can access your company’s private data through various means, such as the loss or theft of an employee’s device, a phishing attack, malware or ransomware, and negligence of security software updates.

In order to minimize the risk of cyber attacks and loss of data, your employees need to understand why cybersecurity is so important. Explain to them some of the risks your organization faces, one of them being that data breaches occur due to human error 90% of the time. They need to understand why it is that they are being trained, so let them know the current state of cybersecurity within your company.

Passwords are the first step and an important part of data protection, so train your employees on how to generate strong and unique passwords. It should be a requirement for employees to change their passwords periodically. This can be done with an automated company-wide system. Your employees should also be educated on a data incident reporting procedure if their device becomes infected with a virus or is not operating as normal, such as unexpected errors, unexplained apps or programs on the desktop, loss of control of their mouse or keyboard, or a drastic change in computing speed. They should be trained on how to spot a legitimate error message or warning alert, and in such cases, they should immediately report the incident to your IT department who should be able to help.

It is important for everyone within the organization to be able to identify what could be an email scam or phishing attack. Generally, you shouldn’t open or click on any links that come from unknown senders. Ensure that your employees only open and respond to emails that come from known senders, someone they have communicated with before, or someone they are expecting an email from, do not contain excessive spelling or grammar errors, and passes an anti-virus program test.

With many of us now working from home, be it on our own devices or a company provided one, encourage your employees to look after their devices as not to have any company data lost, destroyed, or stolen. Ensure that all your employees’ devices are up to date with the latest available software updates, as these usually include security updates.

If you are looking for a dedicated cybersecurity course to partake in, the School of IT has quite a range of courses to have a look at, which could help further educate you and/or your employees on protecting your company’s data.