5 simple ways to incorporate cybersecurity training into your business

Cybersecurity training improves compliance and reduces the risk of data breaches and malware infections. It’s an effective way to remain secure — investing in training could reduce the risk of a data breach by up to 70 percent, according to one study.

Still, many SMBs don’t incorporate cybersecurity training into their business at all. If you’re one of them, now’s a good a time as any to teach your employees about cybersecurity. Here’s everything you need to know.

1. Cybersecurity training teaches your employees about the latest threats

Nineteen percent of employees don’t know how to identify a phishing email, according to a study. However, 70 percent of those who received cybersecurity training said it improved their ability to recognize potential security threats — and react appropriately.

Cybersecurity training is a simple way to reinforce good online habits and teach your staff about the latest security threats, including threats such as ransomware, social engineering, and phishing.

Related: Your 3-point checklist for a BYOD policy

2. Create a cybersecurity policy — and tell your employees all about it

A cybersecurity policy reduces the risk of hackers stealing your data and provides your company with a safeguard in the event of a cyber attack. Your policy should lay down guidelines for security management in your organization and explain security-related rules and regulations in a clear and concise way.

Many of your employees are probably unaware of the latest security risks and are unsure of what to do in an emergency. Your cybersecurity policy, however, will provide them with everything they need to know.

3. Improve your password hygiene

You should also include information about “password hygiene” in your cybersecurity policy. This is one of the most important components of your security awareness plan. In short, password hygiene is a series of steps your employees can take to ensure cybercriminals don’t access their passwords.

Here are some quick tips for improving password hygiene in your organization.

  • Encourage your staff to use passwords that have a combination of letters and numbers. Twelve-character passwords are the best.
  • Remind your staff to change their passwords every six months or so. You can send out reminders via email or post a note on one of your company’s intranet pages.
  • Use encryption software in your business. This makes it harder for hackers to guess your employees’ passwords.

4. Hands-on training is better than virtual training

There are various online courses that will teach your employees about cybersecurity awareness. Staff can learn about computer security basics and the latest security risks and complete their training in a virtual classroom.

Hands-on training, however, makes cybersecurity awareness even more effective. You can hire a computer security expert to visit your premises and provide one-on-one coaching. You can even invest in a program that sends out simulated phishing attacks and creates custom reports based on the results.

While hands-on training might be more expensive than an online course, it could provide you with a long-term return on your investment. If you can avoid a data breach or ransomware infection, that alone is worth the investment.

5. Make cybersecurity fun

Although cybersecurity isn’t the most exciting of topics, you can make security awareness training fun. Cybersecurity-themed games, for example, will engage your employees and teach them about security threats like ransomware and data breaches.

The Cybersecurity Lab, an online game developed by Nova Labs on the PBS website, is a great example of how cybersecurity doesn’t have boring.

Final thoughts

What would you do if hackers obtained your company’s data? It could spell the end of your business — 60 percent of small and medium-sized organizations go bust within six months after a data security breach. This is why it’s so important to incorporate cybersecurity training and awareness into your business. As a result, your staff can learn the basics of computer security and reduce the risk of a cyber attack.

Want more information about data security? Take a look at this 5-part guide to everyday data disasters.