In this article, we'll show you the most cost-effective ways to activate security behaviors that defend your organization.
Effective security awareness training should be doing more than simply satisfying compliance requirements. It should be making your company safer. How much should cybersecurity training cost? It can cost upward of $10,000, with some large enterprises earmarking up to $70 million for cybersecurity programs.
Unfortunately, there is no 'one-size-fits-all' approach when it comes to cybersecurity training. However, the cost of training is not your organization's biggest concern. Rather than focusing on the cost of training, the focus should be on activating good security habits in your organization – some of which are 100% free. Activation is the best way to empower your people to change their mindsets and take action.
In this article, we'll discuss how to activate a security mindset in your organization without it costing tens of thousands of dollars in training costs, or worse, millions in lost revenue due to a data breach. Here's how to approach change management:
Free Things You Can Do to Improve Your Organization's Cybersecurity the Right Way
Regularly Update Software
Hackers are always finding loopholes in software. If they succeed, they can potentially steal data, encrypt files, or prevent devices from working at all. As such, software developers are constantly releasing security patches to fix flaws in products that attackers can use to compromise devices.
It's important to keep your organization's software up to date. Get your team members to update their devices as soon as a patch is released and, where possible, get them to turn automatic updates on.
Use Strong Passwords
Passwords help to keep personal accounts private and secure. But, by using overly simple passwords or reusing them, people can leave themselves open to security breaches.
Here are some tips for your team members to create strong passwords:
- Use a different password for each account.
- Make it long.
- Make it a combination of letters, numbers, and symbols.
- Use a string of words, such as 'CarEarPlanetMuffin'.
- Use password analyzers.
One of the biggest risks faced in business is exposing Personally Identifiable Information (PII) – particularly over email. PII includes information such as names, addresses, phone numbers, dates of birth, Social Security numbers, IP addresses, location details, or any other physical or digital identity data.
People can protect their own information as much as they like, but it's easy to slip up and share others' PII without even realizing it. When sending emails, your team members should check what information is contained in those emails. They should also be very cautious about the information they share online; hackers can collect a lot from publicly shared information.
Everyone in your organization should review the privacy settings of their social media accounts, particularly Facebook accounts. Where possible, remove home addresses, birthdays, or any other PII. Reducing the amount of PII on social accounts will dramatically reduce the risk of a security breach.
Secure All Mobile Devices
Mobile devices – like laptops, smartphones, and tablets – hold a lot of data. If they are lost or stolen, personal data is at risk.
To protect these devices, data can be encrypted so that it is stored in an unreadable form. Without the right authentication key, the data is inaccessible. The encryption settings for most devices can be enabled in the security menu. Consider creating a company policy that requires your team members to encrypt their devices – yes, even their personal ones.
Back up Data Regularly
There is a massive amount of important information on your team members' devices – some of which may be completely unknown to them, or simply forgotten about.
It can be easy to take for granted that it will always be there – until it isn't. Ask yourself, what's the backup plan? The only way to avoid losing data is to make sure that all devices are backed up regularly.
Learn about Phishing Scams
Cybercriminals are constantly at work, and the proof is in the email inboxes of all your employees. Phishing is the most common form of cyberattack. And while it might be easy to spot an obvious scam, the more advanced ones can be tricky.
Phishing emails almost always ask the recipient to take an action. This usually involves providing personal details, clicking a link, or downloading a document.
Here are some of the most common elements of a 'phishy' email:
- The message is sent from a public email domain, for example, '@gmail.com'.
- The domain name is misspelled.
- The email is poorly written.
- The email includes suspicious attachments or links.
- The message creates a sense of urgency.
Help your team members to familiarize themselves with how to spot phishy emails. Provide them with opportunities to test their skills using phishing tests. This way, you can gauge whether your team members are able to spot phishing emails and handle them appropriately.
Making a Habit of Cybersecurity Is Crucial
There are free ways to improve cybersecurity awareness in your organization. Each action taken will build up your organization's defenses. Even though the actions we have suggested above are free, the key issue is actually getting your team to take these actions. Developing good habits is the foundation of cybersecurity awareness.
If you want to activate ongoing behavioral habits in your team members, you need to give them simple opportunities to practice and experiment with the required behaviors until they become second nature.
How Do You Do That?
You could create your own course – one that's focused on regular practice. You could also try out our Security Maturity Quest. This neuroscience-based learning experience will empower your team to develop good security habits. It's cloud-based, ready to go, and proven to increase security maturity by up to 25%. Why not try it out for yourself and four team members? It's free! Sign up for a free trial now.