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3 Tips for Educating Employees on Data Security

October 12, 2015

Protecting against a data breach begins with educating your employees and making sure they understand data use and security policies.

The risk of information security threats has increased greatly in recent years, especially with companies embracing the use of mobile technology to maintain a competitive advantage in the current market. Since employees can now access company data from any location and many companies have a Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) policy in place, data usage and security issues have greatly increased. Many organizations neglect to provide regular security awareness training sessions for employees. It is so important that you educate employees on the risks associated with their mobile device usage and policies that they can follow to reduce risk.

Fostering a secure environment

There are several things you can do to educate employees on data security. Conducting frequent security tests is a strategy that has been proven to be successful for many organizations. Some examples of tests you can administer are:

  1. Spontaneous simulated email attacks- Phishing emails can trick users very easily and contain dangerous links and attachments. Cybercriminals can easily disguise themselves as credible sources so it helps to learn how to identify suspicious URLs. Send fake phishing emails to random employees and look to see who opens them and clicks on suspicious URLs.
  2. Workspace checks- Employees should not be keeping confidential documents or notes at their desks. Check employee areas and make sure devices are locked if left unattended and make sure there are no password reminders out in the open. Leave USB keys from false marketers out in public areas to see if anyone plugs one in. You can put a code in the USB keys that will notify you when someone has plugged it in.
  3. Random quizzes- It also helps to administer random quizzes about security measures in order to pinpoint employees who need further training.

Crisis management

With cybercriminals getting more sophisticated and information becoming more accessible to them, every business is at risk of a cyber-attack, and it only takes one mistake to send an organization into a crisis situation. Just as it is important to spread prevention tips around your office, it is also crucial for employees to have a response plan in place in case of an attack. A crisis management team should be in place, and the heads of each department should be part of it since a data breach affects every department.

Educating employees on the proper ways to handle their mobile devices and confidential information requests will be largely beneficial for your company at large. Internal incidents are one of the main reasons for security breaches, so educating employees is the first step towards fostering a secure environment.

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