As one of the leaders of the company, CIOs have a variety of responsibilities. But one of the most important? Protecting the company from cyberattacks. And in order to do that, they need to not only put the right cybersecurity protocols in place, but ensure that their teams understand what those protocols are—and how to follow them.
But not every employee has cybersecurity on their radar. So the question is, as CIO, how can you raise cybersecurity awareness among your employees—and protect your data and sensitive information in the process?
Include cybersecurity in your onboarding process
If you want to raise cybersecurity awareness with your employees, why not start on day one?
Working cybersecurity training into your onboarding process is a great way to ensure that every employee that walks through your doors is aware of your cybersecurity protocols. And not only will including cybersecurity in your onboarding process get security on your employees’ radar from the beginning, but it will also show them that you’re a company that takes cybersecurity seriously—which can inspire them to take it seriously as well.
During the onboarding process, walk your new employee through your company’s stance on cybersecurity, key threats they need to be aware of (for example, malware or phishing scams), and general best practices for how to work safely. The earlier you introduce cybersecurity to your employees, the higher their awareness will be—and the less likely they’ll be to have security-related issues.
Invest in ongoing training
Introducing cybersecurity during the onboarding process is great. But the conversation around cybersecurity can’t end there. As CIO, if you want to keep your network safe, you need to invest in regular and comprehensive cybersecurity training for your team.
Ideally, you’ll want to offer basic cybersecurity training to your entire team. This would include things like how to secure their network when working from home, how to safely access sensitive company information and data, and how to report any cybersecurity issues to the IT team. In addition, you may want to consider offering more targeted training based on role, department, and/or common threats employees may encounter while performing their job duties. For example, you might consider training your accounting team on how to spot financial scams—and what to do if they suspect company financial information has been exposed in a security breach.
The better you train your team, the more securely they’ll be able to navigate their jobs—and the less likely you’ll be to deal with any serious cybersecurity issues.
Show your team what can go wrong
Sometimes, telling your team that cybersecurity is important isn’t enough; sometimes, you have to show them what’s actually at risk if they don’t take cybersecurity seriously.
Showing your team what happens when there’s a security breach—by sharing real, concrete examples—will help your team understand why cybersecurity needs to be a priority. And when they understand the why behind your company’s security protocols, they’re more likely to take them seriously—and your business will be more secure as a result.
If there have been any past security breaches within your company, walk your team through how they happened, how they negatively impacted your business, and the amount of time, energy, and resources it took to recover. And if your company has never had a major security breach, look for examples within your industry to speak to.
Giving real-world examples with your team of what happens when cybersecurity goes wrong takes security issues from conceptual to concrete—and the more real cybersecurity threats feel to your team, the more vigilant they’ll be about preventing them.
Run cybersecurity drills
You can train your team on cybersecurity. You can show them what can go wrong if there’s a security breach. But sometimes, in order to really understand cybersecurity threats—and, more importantly, how to avoid them? Your team has to experience those threats for themselves.
Running cybersecurity drills with your team can help you get a better sense of your team’s level of awareness around cybersecurity. For example, let’s say you simulate a phishing scam and send the phishing email out to your entire team—and find that 25 percent of your employees opened the file attached to that email. This shows you that your team needs further training around that particular cybersecurity threat—and how to prevent falling prey to a similar (but real) scam. Or let’s say you want to gauge how well your IT team would handle a security threat. You might simulate common threats (for example, adding an unregistered device to your network) and see how they respond.
The point is, sometimes the best way to learn is through experience—so if you want your team to better understand cybersecurity threats (and if you want to better understand their awareness around those threats), try giving them that experience first-hand.
Use these tips to raise cybersecurity awareness among your employees
If you want to keep your business safe, your team needs to have a clear understanding of cybersecurity. And with these tips, you have everything you need to raise awareness about cybersecurity best practices and how to avoid security risks with your team—and protect your company in the process.
Are you looking for more ways to raise cybersecurity awareness among your employees? Read this white paper to find concrete tips from CIOs and CTOs:
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In our white paper “CIOs: Navigating the New Challenges of Hybrid Work”, you’ll discover: the 3 major challenges for CIOs in the era of hybrid work, concrete advice on how to accelerate your digital transformation, secure your workstations and improve the employee experience, as well as testimonials from 10 CIOs working in companies, administrations and associations.
Author: Deanna deBara