4 Ways to Engage Employees in Your Cybersecurity Defense

Humans make mistakes. But when it comes to cybersecurity, their unintentional actions can translate to big costs for your company. In fact, according to the World Economic Forum’s Global Risk Report 2022, 95% of cybersecurity issues are traced to human error. Here are a few ways to strengthen this weak link in your security chain. 

It is well-known that the weakest link in most companies’ cybersecurity programs is their employees. Phishing emails, social engineering tactics, and adware are all deployed to manipulate people into taking an action they normally wouldn’t take. 

Helping your employees counter these tactics begins with education – making them aware of the potential threats and what to look for, as well as the consequences of their unintentional behavior. Cybersecurity training is critical for all of your employees in building this awareness. 

There are challenges to implementing training successfully. You must be purposeful about getting their buy-in to help protect your organization. 

Below are some tips on engaging employees to partner with you in this vital work. 

  • Provide ongoing training 
    Cybersecurity training should start as part of a solid employee onboarding process to orient new hires to the risks your company faces and their essential role in protecting the organization. A one-time training session isn’t enough protection, though, as the cyber-threat landscape is continually changing. Instead, establish a training calendar and a curriculum that routinely addresses good cyber hygiene, threat awareness, and cybersecurity literacy. These are fundamental to engaging employees in the protection of your information systems.  
  • Make cybersecurity personal 
    Most employees do not work in the IT department. But this can lead to complacency and thinking of cybersecurity work as “someone else’s problem.” Employees who are disengaged or apathetic about the cyber threats to your organization are risk factors. It is important, then, to find ways to motivate employees in every department to share in the ownership of protecting company networks and data.
  • Communicate well 
    We all have stories of wasted hours in training sessions that are either boring or ineffective. Cybersecurity training is fertile ground for poor training. Security issues are complex and technical, security controls are often seen as inconvenient (at best), and many employees view training as a “box-to-be-checked” rather than valuable information to consume and integrate. The training landscape is already difficult. Invest legitimate thought and effort in creating training programs that are engaging, informative – and, therefore, effective. 
  • Share successes  
    Cybersecurity successes make for boring headlines compared to costly failures such as data theft or ransomware. Keep your employees motivated by promoting your cybersecurity achievements. Find safe and engaging ways to share feedback and successes with employees – for instance, how the company is defending its networks and data, the threats it’s experiencing, and how effective the efforts of employees and cybersecurity systems are in keeping the organization secure. 

It takes tremendous time and effort to set up and manage an effective cybersecurity program. Your employees are a critical part of that effort. Onboarding processes and training programs are essential tools to engage them and ensure they understand their roles and responsibilities in defending the organization. These efforts are also the keys to your long-term cybersecurity success. 

If you are interested in cybersecurity training for your employees – or want to strengthen your existing training program – we can help! Contact us.