7 ways to make cybersecurity understandable for everyone in your organization
Most people use technology without ever understanding its underlying principles and mechanics. The average person would be hard-pressed to explain how a pulley reduces the effort required to lift heavy objects, how airplane wings generate lift, or how emails reach their recipients.
When it comes to IT, people know less about cybersecurity and how it keeps things that may stop them from using their computers and other tech tools at bay. Your staff may not be aware of how malware and other cyberthreats put their jobs and even their personal lives at risk. Therefore, it’ll be good for everyone on your payroll to understand how cybersecurity works so they can help keep your organization safe.
You can achieve this by educating your staff on cybersecurity best practices through regular training. The question is, how do you make cybersecurity understandable for your staff? Here are a few tips for you to start with.
A cyberattack on an entire organization may be at too big a scale for employees to grasp mentally, so it may be helpful to scale everything down to an individual — and personal — level.
1. Use everyday things or common knowledge to explain cybersecurity jargon and concepts
Ever wondered why website cookies are called such? It’s because computer memory space is likened to a jar, and pieces of a website’s information are kept there for later retrieval. IT is full of terminologies that reference everyday concepts to make them easier to grasp.
The same principle can be applied when explaining cybersecurity. For example, a distributed denial-of-service attack can be likened to a traffic jam, and ransomware can be likened to a hostage situation.
2. Show staff how devastating cyberthreats can be in their own lives
A cyberattack on an entire organization may be at too big a scale for employees to grasp mentally, so it may be helpful to scale everything down to an individual — and personal — level. For instance, you can show staff how hackers can use phishing campaigns to steal their online banking credentials and lock them out of their own hard-earned money.
When workers are shown how cybercrime can negatively affect their lives, they understand how it can ruin the business they work at. It also makes them appreciate the cybersecurity lessons more.
3. Provide cybersecurity training that’s specific to their jobs
The field of cybersecurity is ever-expanding, and no expert could ever master everything there is to know about it. Therefore, it’ll be too much to expect non-techies to grasp countless concepts. Instead, you must limit cybersecurity training to topics related to the jobs your employees do and the tech they use to accomplish these.
If email is the only program a worker uses, then that worker’s training ought to be focused on email-related cybersecurity topics, such as business email compromise. However, someone who manages on-premises servers will require more in-depth training.
4. Build an archive that serves as everyone’s standardized reference
Certainly, one can Google cybersecurity terms to learn more about these, but there may be multiple sources that aren’t consistent with one another. Creating a compendium of knowledge for your company not only makes information easier to find, but it also helps prevent confusion because everyone has one source of truth.
5. Run simulations of cyberattacks
Concepts taught in a classroom setting may remain difficult to understand and retain, but experiencing a cyberattack, even a simulated one, may help ingrain lessons more deeply into the trainees’ minds. Through simulations, they can practice executing protocols for reporting ongoing web exploits. They’d also know to disconnect their computers from the company network and boot data backups when they’ve been hit with ransomware.
Related article: What is a security operations center, and does your business need one?
6. Install a cybersecurity culture advocate in every department
If you’re lucky to have cybersecurity enthusiasts in your roster, then it’ll pay to appoint one for every department. They can be a readily available resource in case cybersecurity questions or issues arise. Furthermore, since they belong in those departments, the advocates are familiar with the context behind their teammates’ concerns. Because of this, they’ll be able to address such concerns in a manner that their audience will more easily understand.
7. Carve out time for staff to teach refresher courses
One of the most effective ways to see if someone understood a lesson is by having them teach what they’ve learned to others. Therefore, when it comes time to refresh people’s minds on cybersecurity topics, let the trainer take a back seat and have trainees take over teaching. Also have them use the first three tips above for maximum effect. If the presenters fail at teaching their refresher course, that may indicate a lack of comprehension on their part, which is something the trainer can address later on.
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