October is officially National Cybersecurity Awareness Month (NCSAM). Started in 2004 by the Department of Homeland Security and the National Cyber Security Alliance, NCSAM exists to educate people on the importance of cybersecurity and provide guidance on how to stay protected. With cyberattacks increasing 400% during COVID-19, cybersecurity awareness is more important than ever.

The NCSAM theme for 2020 is “Do Your Part. #BeCyberSmart.”

This theme highlights a critical component of cybersecurity: personal responsibility. Though cybersecurity is often seen as something handled by IT departments, firewalls, and antivirus software, it is a responsibility we all share. All it takes are the actions of one individual to create an opening in an otherwise secure system. In fact, around 95% of cybersecurity breaches can be traced back to simple human error.

Remote operations and bring-your-own-device policies are certain to become more common than ever in a post-COVID world. Internal IT staff are already struggling to keep everyone connected and protected as best they can. It’s important that you not only protect your employees from cyber threats, but that you teach them to protect themselves.

Popular cyberattacks like phishing and ransomware specifically target your employees. By better educating your employees on cybersecurity, you can not only reduce your risk of a data breach, but you can remove a lot of stress from your IT department. It also helps in maintaining any compliancy standards you might be operating under.

Up-to-Date and On the Same Page

When training your employees how to properly access and store data, it’s important that you set clear expectations and protocols. This includes password requirements, access privileges, storage locations, and more. They should also be given proper training on any software or systems they use. Rules, standard operating procedures, and helpful documentation should be kept in a convenient place for future reference. These items should also be updated as things change and evolve.

If employees are utilizing their own device, they must be careful about who uses it. Any device being used for work purposes also needs regular updates. This can be done remotely by IT staff, or it can be entrusted to the employees directly. IT members can help by notifying staff when major updates to operating systems and software are being released.

Employees should be also be made aware of the current threats that are out there, including specific examples of attacks they may see on their own device. Help them understand how serious logging into a fake web portal could be. Distributing this information through company emails and posts on your team’s communication platform is a good start.

However, hosting mandatory cybersecurity meetings is the best way to ensure the necessary information is relayed. Many companies utilize lunch-and-learns as a way educate employees. Sending out an occasional survey to test employee knowledge is a great idea as well.

Integrating Employee Education

Educating employees on cybersecurity should be foundational to your overall IT strategy. Rather than haphazardly integrating these recommendations into your current system, it may be best to audit your current systems and create a new, cohesive cybersecurity strategy. Utilizing a third-party IT company can help simplify this process.

At Expedient Technology Solutions, we provide a wide range of IT solutions to meet the needs of your business. This can include analyzing current risks, establishing operating protocols, creating disaster recovery plans, and rolling out ongoing IT strategies. We can act as your virtual CIO or CTO, or we can work seamlessly alongside an internal executive. And of course, we can assist with any other IT support needs you may have.

With ETS, both you and your employees can experience the joys of Stress-Free IT®. Contact us today to learn what our team can do for you.