Your employees are a crucial component of your business, which also means that they’re an important component of your business’s security. Data breaches often occur because of employee negligence or poor password management, which makes it essential that you take the necessary steps to educate them and enforce security protocols.
In this guide, we’ll cover five ways you can educate your employees on data breach prevention. The business as a whole needs to be in sync when it comes to security; one bad link can break the entire chain!
1. Be Honest About The Effects Of A Data Breach
The best place to start is by educating employees on the effects of a data breach. If you’re a smaller business, you can incur anywhere between $30,000 and $50,000 in damages from a data breach, and that’s a conservative estimate. There are fees that accompany data breaches that compromise customers’ personal data, which can add up to thousands more. The question to ask is, “Do I have $50,000 lying around to cover those costs in the event of a data breach?” Even if you do, there’s a good chance it’s not set aside to be spent on a data breach.
Be honest with employees and help them understand that a data breach can potentially jeopardize their jobs. About 60% of small businesses will close within 6 months of a cyberattack or data breach. Unfortunately, this is often preventable with a bit of extra training and an investment in cybersecurity tools like a password manager for business.
2. Password Protocols
Speaking of passwords—there’s a good chance many of your employees are slacking when it comes to passwords. Among closed organizations, employees feel a certain level of security, and often share passwords or credentials. After all, everyone works at the same place, so it’s ok, right? Absolutely not. Passwords and credentials should never be freely shared, even at work, and password management is essential to business security.
While employees underestimate the dangers of password sharing, you can take steps to prevent this and more by setting strict password protocols. This can include absolutely no internal password sharing, updating passwords every few months, and setting up password requirements.
Passwords that contain repeated characters, personal or company information, dictionary words or phrases, or easily-guessed words are jeopardizing your entire organization. It’s time to start taking our passwords more seriously, especially in business. Passwords are often the first bastion of defense in your cybersecurity efforts. Don’t underestimate a good password!
3. Reinforce The Fact That It’s Their Responsibility, Too
Many employees look at the idea of cybersecurity as the sole responsibility of the employer, which is entirely false and a dangerous mentality. The truth is that everyone in an organization is a link in the cybersecurity chain, and everyone shares a level of responsibility in keeping that chain together. As the employer, it’s your job to reinforce this fact and remind everyone that if you don’t work together, the system doesn’t work at its best.
Remind employees that they should never be sharing company data, including passwords. Everything should be done on the business’s secure networks, and, if you have remote workers, you should have systems in place that they must use.
4. Awareness Is Key
The more aware your employees are of the threats that come with poor data management, the more serious they’ll be about protecting the business. Awareness means keeping employees up-to-date with the cybersecurity trends, company trends, and information related to a potential breach. The more educated and aware your employees are about cybercrime and data breaches, the more careful they’ll be.
Many businesses will attempt to hide a data breach from employees until the problem is addressed, but this is a poor practice. You should immediately notify everyone when a breach occurs, so everyone is on alert and ready to take any necessary steps to further securing personal or business data. Don’t hide things from your employees!
5. Host Formal Training Sessions With Experts
Of course, awareness can only carry you so far. You need education and training to back it up and make it viable. This is where formal training sessions come in. Hiring a cybersecurity expert to give a presentation on data breaches and protecting data can go a long way in reinforcing good cybersecurity habits.
It’s a good idea to host either a formal or informal training/education session on cybersecurity and data breaches at least once per year. More often is better, but not always practical.
The Bottom Line
The security of the business is everyone’s responsibility, and it’s important that your employees recognize and accept that fact. Enforce strict cybersecurity protocols, including password management, keep employees up-to-date and informed about potential threats, and make sure you’re providing training and education on the subject.