How to arm your employees against cyber-attackers

It’s no secret that employees are the glue that hold businesses together. But – in the words of Spiderman’s Uncle Ben – with great power comes great responsibility, and your staff play an absolutely crucial part in upholding the cyber-security of your company.

There’s no getting away from the fact that employees can be culpable of leaving your SME open to being targeted by hackers – whether that’s through failing to adequately protect their remote devices, using public WiFi networks without VPN precautions or being duped by phishing emails, for example. But rather than seeing them as a weak link in your cyber-defences, it’s far more productive to focus your attention on how your workforce can become an extra layer of security rather than a vulnerability.

So how can you ensure employees are a help rather than a hole in your defences?

  • Prioritise awareness 

    No one can be held accountable for something they don’t understand or know enough about, so make sure you take the time to get all employees clued-up on cyber-security. Focusing on things like effective password protection and spotting scam emails is a good place to start, as it will help increase awareness of how even the most commonplace processes can harbour threats.

  • Invest in training 

    Unless you’re a cyber-security expert yourself, it might be worth looking for a reputable training provider to help your team understand how to detect and deter attacks. There are a good number of programmes out there that will help boost knowledge and practical skills within your business – just be sure to do your research and check for testimonials, so you know the investment will be worthwhile. 

  • Encourage initiative 

    As helpful as formal training can be, more often than not it’s bog standard common sense that is the best defence against hacking attempts. Assure your team that if they see something they think is suspicious, they’re probably right. It’s always better to be safe than sorry, so if a webpage or email is asking for particularly sensitive data like bank details or to follow a dubious link, encourage them to stop and think before acting.

  • Share responsibilities 

    It may seem counter-productive, but sharing cyber-security responsibilities amongst your team is a great way of improving accountability, therefore encouraging everyone to take extra care. Staying on top of your defences is an ongoing task, which can become tiresome and time-consuming if left up to one person. Delegating things like implementing password policies and updating anti-malware software will ensure the constant workload is shared more evenly, helping reduce the chance of a potentially catastrophic oversight.

  • Keep it up 

    If there was a one-step solution to securing your systems against an attack, chances are you’d have implemented it by now. Unfortunately, there is no such trick – keeping your defences working effectively and your employees up-to-date with the latest threats is an ongoing battle, so you need to stay well-armed. There’s no point training your workforce only to have them slide back into risky habits a few weeks later – devise a checklist they can refer back to and schedule refresher sessions to make sure everyone stays on track and is fighting as a unit.

If you’re worried about your SME’s cyber-security, why not get in touch to see how our managed IT support services can help you strengthen your defences?

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