Why is trusting and upskilling your employees vital for effective cyber security?

Reading the monthly tech headlines, it’s no secret that cyber-crime is on the rise and hackers are evolving their data interception techniques at a rapid rate. Therefore, it’s crucial SME owners have the correct defence software and security parameters installed on their systems.

However, a couple of key areas often overlooked when implementing a robust cyber security strategy are establishing authentic trust, plus staff training and awareness – both of which are interlinked.

No matter what industry you operate in, people are your most useful tool of all, so it’s vital that you can trust them when it comes to keeping your business safe.

Our MD, Lorna Stellakis, recently spoke about how building trust in your team can ease your stress, and cyber security is one key area where this is paramount.

The rise of electronic communications

The number of business emails sent and received each day has been estimated at around 124 billion, in 2018, and new research has found that two thirds of UK businesses don’t provide security awareness training for email.

This is a rather scary statistic, given that modern-day phishing attacks can be incredibly convincing. But knowing how to spot a malicious email – from the sender’s address, URL and spelling errors – can help prevent staff from clicking links and files they should be deleting.

Staff create their own passwords

From the day they’re onboarded into the firm, you provide new recruits with their own workstations and devices – integrating them further into the fabric of your business.

It’s therefore vital that you trust them, because their induction period will see them setting up passwords for their devices and being given access to shared documents – and sensitive company data.

But how can you put your full confidence in employees if you don’t know what existing knowledge they have and you’re not investing in upskilling them? Cyber security is a specialist area, so educating staff about how they can generate super-strength passwords – including advice about length, characters, symbols and not using common phrases – is essential for evidence-based trust, as opposed to being born out of assumptions.

Increase in remote working

With flexible working adopted by a growing number of firms, many people now have the option to work from home, and the desk-based 9-5 isn’t the norm anymore.

While it’s great to offer your teams autonomy and flexibility as to where they work, there are naturally some security risks associated with off-site operations.

Whether using mobile phones, laptops or tablets, employees should know about the dangers of using public Wi-Fi hotspots, as these unsecured networks can easily be used by cyber-criminals to intercept data. Informing your colleagues of Wi-Fi best practice when out of the office – i.e. using a Virtual Private Network (VPN) which cannot be hacked by third parties – is a key way to arm your data against a potential breach.

It’s true that even the most vigilant of business owners can fall victim to the dangers of organised cyber-crime, and, if you’re not aware of the latest risks and the ways that cyber threats can manifest themselves within an SME, it’s unlikely your staff will be.

If you’d like to get in touch about your cyber security requirements, or would like to find out more about our cyber security assessment, please contact the team on 01524 581690!

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