Developing a cyber security awareness solution for your small business is now a critical component of your organizations defense against potential attacks. The purpose of a cyber security awareness solution is to help make all the employees understand and appreciate the importance and value of the company’s information assets but perhaps most importantly the consequences if these assets are compromised. While this sounds like a very simple and straightforward process most companies struggle to implement an effective program that fits their organizations requirements.
So how do you start to develop an effective cyber security awareness solution for your small business? And how do you identify which tools will have a positive impact on the behaviors of your employees? Perhaps most importantly, how do you make your employees cyber aware? Our team of experts has compiled a number of key components to help make your security awareness program effective for your small business.
1. Ensure that you do your homework – before you embark on developing your specific security protocols it is imperative that you learn as much as you can about your environment and the potential risks that your small business faces. There are typically two areas that should be considered – firstly how do your employees interact with your systems and for what purpose. If the IT manager does not understand how the company is utilizing technology and for what reason then it is difficult to determine the appropriate level of security that needs to be applied. Secondly, it is imperative that you determine which employees have access to certain data and why and who actually needs access to certain data and why. You can then cross reference these lists to determine if current levels of access fit the employees roles or whether controls/restrictions need to be implemented. In short, it is critical that the IT manager knows how the company is using the information and the dynamics of the specific industry. As such, IT managers will need to understand the corporate goals of the small business and the initiatives and policies that are in place.
2. Management buy-in – for any individual who is implementing a security awareness program it is important that you obtain backing from management otherwise getting the necessary buy in from the rest of the organization is going to be incredibly difficult. In a small business time and resources are very limited and many managers are resistant to undertaking any form of training unless it is critical. As a result it is critical for the IT manager to build close relationships with management to get the necessary levels of engagement from across the business.
3. Use effective language – most IT managers fail to realize that they speak a foreign language and as such they struggle to communicate effectively with non-technical audiences. More often than not, many employees tend to feel as if the IT department are deliberately talking over their heads and this only causes more resentment. This failure to provide effective messages is a common problem and one of the main reasons why many programs fail. As Using technical jargon will only ensure that your audience stops listening, or even worse, starts to view security in a negative light.
4. Security Awareness programs need to be fun!
One of the most important features of any successful security awareness programs is that they are fun. By making your security awareness program fun you are helping to develop the necessary engagement with your audience. This is particularly important as many employees have had limited experience in dealing with security teams and are scared of security or security practitioners. By making your security awareness program fun you are helping build a level of trust with your audience which makes them more open and receptive to the key messages that you are relaying. This also helps them to understand how they are a key part of your small businesses security.
5. Explain to your audience why security policies are important – by explaining the rationale for the implementation of new security policies this will help your audience understand the potential risks . For instance, if you inform your audience that pressing a red button will cause significant damage to the business costing potentially millions of dollars in damage they will be far less likely to press the button. By providing contextual information you reinforce to the user the importance of following key policies.
6. Ensure that you document your policies for your small business – when developing your policies it is important that you provide your staff with a copy of a written policy that each individual has to sign. This will help to ensure that everyone is aware of the policies that have been implemented and also provides an opportunity for the individual to ask questions about the policy and how this might impact on their specific role.
In order to minimize the chance of being hacked you need to make sure your staff and colleagues are sufficiently aware of the latest cyber threats and how to best prevent. Take a look at how Secario helps makes your staff cyber security aware by trying our cyber security awareness solution for free.
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