It’s spooky season! It’s also National Cyber Security Awareness Month, and hackers everywhere are hoping you didn’t take advantage of this month to beef up your cybersecurity, conduct new trainings and refresh your crisis plans.
As experts in the fast-paced world of cybersecurity PR and communications, we know how hard it can be to effectively communicate highly technical content, such as how to maintain network security in a COVID-19 world where everyone is working remotely. During this global pandemic, cybercriminals have taken advantage of remote workers, which has resulted in increased cyber attacks wreaking havoc on businesses. Now more than ever, it is paramount for businesses to educate their employees on common cybersecurity risks and the tactics that cybercriminals are capitalizing on now.
Here are some tips and tricks we recommend organizations implement to help employees #BeCyberSmart and keep businesses safe:
Hold Regular Training Sessions
Knowledge is power. Therefore, it’s critical that you hold regular cybersecurity training sessions to educate employees on the vulnerabilities and threats they need to be aware of while using company issued devices. Cybersecurity training cannot be a one-and-done — it must be done at a regular cadence so that employees always have the most up-to-date information. Hackers are always looking for new ways to exploit employees, so employers should always look for new ways to protect staff.
Implement a Reporting Procedure
It’s also important that each employee be held accountable if they fall victim to a cyber attack and the dire consequences that can result. For this to work, employees must first be educated on your data incident reporting procedure in the event that their computer becomes infected by a virus or is just operating outside the norm. Staff should be trained to recognize warning messages or alerts and to immediately report the incident to the appropriate party to mitigate and investigate the threat.
Understanding Common Cyber Attacks
One of the most common tactics used by cybercriminals is the phishing scam. This is a type of email that resembles legitimate messages and includes compromised links or attachments with the aim of getting people to click on something that will give the hacker access to sensitive data and personally identifiable information (PII). Once you have training and a reporting procedure in place, it will be easy to identify these phishing scams and deal with them accordingly. Some companies may choose to circulate confirmed examples of scams to the broader team for their continued education and awareness.
Secure Digital Platforms
With so many people working remotely, businesses are incorporating more tools and platforms into their processes than ever before. Do your research when selecting which digital platforms, such as teleconference systems, to invest in company-wide. Once implemented, take additional precautionary measures to avoid sensitive company information being leaked or compromised. For example, consider selecting a conferencing platform that offers end-to-end encryption. You can also use codes or passwords to secure virtual meeting rooms.
Implement the Right Security Tools
It’s said that the best offense is a good defense. In cybersecurity, defense could mean full-proof anti-virus solutions, internal IT security support, third-party security services, software solutions or combinations of the above. Assess the right tools for you and set aside dedicated budget for ongoing cybersecurity efforts. Given the high cost of a security breach, you really can’t afford to cut corners on cybersecurity.
Ultimately, all these tips and tricks rely on strong communication between employers and staff about cybersecurity policies, procedures and expectations. Establishing this understanding will help secure your staff’s home working environments and mitigate your company’s risk of costly and potentially reputation-damaging data breaches.
RH Strategic is a Seattle and D.C.-based communications firm with a nationwide presence and additional global reach via membership in the Worldcom Public Relations Group. We provide strategic public relations for innovators in the technology, government and healthcare markets.