Cybersecurity awareness and its importance with 5 tips to help you stay secure

by | August 3, 2021 | How to, Cybersecurity

cybersecurity awarenes

Cybersecurity awareness is defined as the knowledge about and actions taken to secure a company’s information assets. When employees at a company are cybersecurity conscious, it implies they understand what cyber dangers are, the potential effects a cyber-attack will have on their company, and the measures necessary to reduce risk and prevent cyber-crime from accessing their online workspace.

However, creating a culture of cybersecurity awareness in the company does not guarantee that your company will be fully safe from data theft or cyber-crime. Cyberattacks can occur at any level of your company. Simple social engineering scams like phishing must be taught to your employees. More advanced cybersecurity threats like ransomware and other malware are used to steal intellectual property or personal data.

Cybersecurity is essential because it secures all types of data against theft and loss. Sensitive data, personally identifiable information (PII), protected health information (PHI), personal information, intellectual property, data, and governmental and industry information systems fall under this category.

Because of GDPR and other laws, businesses of all sizes can no longer afford to neglect cybersecurity. Security events affect organizations of all kinds regularly, and they frequently make the front page of the newspaper, causing lasting reputational damage to the organizations affected.

After learning what cybersecurity is, let’s discover together why it is so important!

Why is cybersecurity important?

The importance of cybersecurity is increasing. Fundamentally, our society is more technologically reliant than ever, and this trend shows no signs of slowing. Data breaches that potentially lead to identity theft are now being shared openly on social media sites. Therefore, credit card numbers, social security numbers, and bank account information are now saved in cloud storage services such as Dropbox or Google Drive.

Most individuals are at least semi-aware that identity theft and network hacking are probable, and they’re pretty good at not downloading malicious code or clicking suspicious links on purpose. To protect themselves from internet attacks, businesses frequently use firewalls, sophisticated IT defense systems, and IT rules and standards. So, how do smart companies continue to be hacked?

It’s easy to understand: human error. Indeed, social engineering, the psychological manipulation of victims to induce them to unwittingly submit sensitive data, compromise their devices, or provide hackers network access, is the most common kind of cybercrime. Phishing is one of the most common examples of this.

Hackers can establish access points to steal employee login credentials by using fake emails or websites to encourage employees to provide sensitive employee data. Malware is another prevalent tactic that involves hiding malicious code in apps or software (and persuading employees to download it), allowing hackers to obtain immediate access to corporate data and assets.

Cybercrime is receiving increased attention from governments around the world. The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is a good example. It has increased the reputational harm caused by data breaches by requiring all EU-based businesses to:

  • Communicate data breaches
  • Appoint a data-protection officer
  • Require user consent to process information
  • Anonymize data for privacy

Best practices for cybersecurity awareness

If CEOs, directors, and managers want to keep their data safe, they must educate their employees and develop a cyber security-aware workplace culture. Here are some cybersecurity recommended practices that every company should implement.

1. Have a data recovery strategy

According to a recent poll, one out of every five firms does not have a strategy or backup plan in place if their data is lost or corrupted. As more businesses turn to the cloud, it’s critical to ensure that your cloud-based data is properly secured and comply with new GDPR requirements.

In addition, you must ensure that your employees understand the strategy and who is responsible for what.

2. Identify and plan for what you can’t prevent

Hackers will constantly try to exploit a weakness, and if they do, you must have the resources and skills to notice their activity as quickly as possible. This way, you can contain the damage and continue your daily operation without suffering a major loss.

A security information and event management (SIEM) solution throughout the company will combine logs from applications, operating systems, and network infrastructure appliances. It will then examine the data for any suspicious activities and alert the proper authorities.

3. Implement basic cyber security training

Employees will use approved software and have strong passwords if training sessions are performed. You might also consider creating common-sense technology access policies and using multi-factor authentication to provide additional degrees of security for your employees.

Benefits of cybersecurity awareness training

Cybersecurity awareness training will help your staff understand how cybercriminals can target them and what they can do if they become victims. This goes beyond simply being aware of potential dangers; it also gives staff hands-on experience with how cybercrime works, what internal prevention measures are and why they exist, and what is expected of them going ahead. It also involves guidance on basically every area of cyber-threat prevention, such as:

  • Social engineering techniques (malware, phishing, etc.)
  • Acceptable use of information
  • Secure data disposal techniques
  • Data encryption and password management
  • Data protection protocol
  • Firewall configuration and management
  • Intrusion Detection Systems (IDS)
  • Incident Response procedure

How to be cyber secure?

1. Treat company’s information as your personal information

Personal and proprietary data are frequently mixed in business information. For example, while trade secrets and company credit accounts may come to mind, employee personally identifiable information (PII) is also collected via tax forms and payroll accounts. Do not share personal information with strangers or across insecure networks.

2. Keep in mind that technology has its limits

As “smart” or data-driven technology advances, it’s essential to remember that security measures are only effective if employees use them effectively. Data is the lifeblood of smart technology, which means that smartphones, laptop computers, wireless printers, and other gadgets continually exchange data for executing tasks. To avoid data breaches, take proper security procedures and make sure wireless devices are configured correctly.

3. Be up to date

Keep your software up to date with the most recent version. Turn on automatic updates, so you don’t have to think about it, and set your security software to do regular checks to keep your information safe.

4. Social media is part of the fraud toolset

The fraud toolkit includes social media. Cybercriminals can acquire information on your partners and vendors, as well as your human resources and financial departments, by searching Google and analyzing your organization’s social networking sites. Employees should avoid oversharing on social media and should not conduct official business, exchange money, or share personally identifiable information (PII) on these platforms.

5. It only needs to be done once

When a cybercriminal gains access to an organization’s infrastructure, data breaches are uncommon. Many data breaches can be linked to a single security flaw, phishing attempt, or case of unintentional exposure. Be wary of unfamiliar sources, avoid clicking on unknown links, and delete suspicious messages as soon as possible.

Final thoughts

When it comes to creating a security awareness program, many companies are unclear where to start, resulting in half-baked programs that do little to help their employees develop. Others turn to off-the-shelf training modules or massive open online courses (MOOCs), which rarely provide any useful information. Yet, employees are your first and most important line of defense when it comes to online crime. So it’s past time for you to start acting like it!

Don’t hesitate to watch out for our security awareness program that provides efficient training for your employees through different games and easy-to-understand practices!

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by Andreea Popa

Content writer for Attack Simulator, delivering your daily dose of awareness for cyber security! Love to write passionately about any subject and my mainly inspiration are people's stories. You can also find me on social media, for some more friendly things!

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