With the number of cyber attacks, data breaches, and other threats increasing each year, IT security is a top concern for organizations. Many company executives and CIOs are spearheading initiatives dedicated to protecting their information. Some are strengthening their IT security measures by upgrading software, hardware, and infrastructure. However, organizations often fail to address one of the biggest and often underestimated threats–their employees.
One study by CompTIA cited employees as a top concern, with 52 percent of breaches stemming from human error. Preventing human error requires creating effective security awareness and training efforts. In a 2014 PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) survey, 42 percent of respondents said employee security education and training helped to deter potential attacks, saving companies thousands in financial losses.
Unfortunately, crafting these initiatives is also a challenge for leaders everywhere. How can organizations improve their employee IT security training? Here are some tips:
Motivate them
The problem with some workers, is that they still do not realize that they play a very important role in the security of the company. For example, if they lose their smartphone or laptop that they use for work purposes, chances are, they aren’t thinking about protecting the company data on it. In order to make training more effective, leaders can motivate employees by praising them for smart security practices.
Break it down
A once-a-year seminar on IT security is not sufficient or effective. This model is unsuccessful, because it is nearly impossible to cover all the ins-and-outs of cybersecurity to your employees in one session. Even if you did, it’s likely that employees would only digest less than 10 percent of the information. Especially, if you start to discuss more technical concepts. Captivating their attention and engaging employees will likely grow more difficult the longer one training session becomes.
A more effective method is to have IT security training sessions multiple times a year. Even reminding employees about the importance of security and sending quick tips throughout the year will help to keep the information from going stale.
Make it easy
Make sure employees know the process to follow when problems arise by showing and engaging them. In order for training to be effective, organizations need to go beyond simply handing employees an IT security policy or handbook. The reality is that most likely no one will read it.
Organizations can use collaboration tools, gamification, and other technology to help engage them. Highlight the most important and most common threats and train on how to prevent those from happening. Organizations should provide supplemental information about security, but it should not be the only source of awareness.
Use secure presentation software.
Lastly, when presenting about sensitive data and company policies, use secure presentation software. If your training session is located out-of-office, you can use wireless presentation software instead of relying on equipment in a meeting room or other space. Utilizing it can decrease setup time and the risk of revealing sensitive information through faulty devices.
Employee IT security awareness and training may seem like an unnecessary or lackluster initiative. However, it is one of the most crucial elements to prevent costly security threats from happening. Improving the effectiveness of training with these tips will help engage employees and protect company data.