GUEST ESSAY: Sure steps to achieve a robust employee cybersecurity awareness training regimen

By Idrees Shafiq

Employee security awareness is the most important defense against data breaches.

Related: Leveraging security standards to protect your company

It involves regularly changing passwords and inventorying sensitive data. Cybercriminals view employees as a path of least resistance. As such, you should limit the amount of information that employees have access to.

There are several ways you can protect your business from data breaches.

Create security awareness for employees. One of the most important ways to protect against data breaches is to increase employee security awareness. Employees are the first line of defense against cybercrime and should understand how to recognize phishing emails and what to do if they suspect them. With proper training, employees can prevent these attacks before they happen.

While the protection of the company’s assets can never be completely guaranteed, security awareness training should be a top priority for business owners. Without it, a business is vulnerable to a variety of risks, including financial loss, damage to intellectual property, and brand reputation. In addition, educating employees about cybersecurity issues can help to reinforce the security-minded culture of the organization and change employee behaviour.

Provide frequent training about the risks of cyberattacks. One of the best ways to increase employee security awareness is to provide frequent training and communication about the risks of phishing and other cyberattacks. This training should be short and concise and provide guidance on identifying security risks.

Additionally, employees should receive guidance on how to report suspicious activity and confront strangers in secure areas. After a few months, organizations should evaluate the security awareness training to make sure that it is still relevant and effective.


Cybercriminals are constantly searching for ways to gain access to an organization. As a result, they seek to exploit the weakest link. This can include phishing emails that contain malicious links that infect an organization’s network or steal its database login credentials. Training employees is a crucial part of fighting back against this kind of attack and can complement other technological security solutions.

•Change passwords regularly. One of the most overlooked ways to protect your business from data breaches is changing passwords on a regular basis. Many people have their original passwords from college, and they never update them. This can be risky. It can also leave your company vulnerable to disgruntled employees. That’s why it’s essential to change passwords regularly and change them after every staff change.

Passwords are easy to steal, and hackers can use them in just a few seconds. If you’re not changing passwords regularly, you’re inviting hackers and cybercriminals to steal your company’s sensitive data. Changing passwords regularly will make the lives of cyberbullies much harder. It also ensures that your account credentials won’t be used for as long. The best practice is to change passwords every 90 days. You can even use password managers to automatically create strong passwords for you.

In addition to changing passwords, you should also change passwords when entering sensitive information on public computers.

The best passwords are those that are difficult to guess. A common problem is that people tend to use the same password for too long. If you want to be completely safe, use passwords that are hard to guess and don’t use passwords you don’t know.

Inventory your sensitive data. Inventorying sensitive data is a crucial process in protecting your business from data breaches. It helps you determine gaps in security and prioritize your efforts. Data discovery technologies can scan data stores and label sensitive and regulated data by purpose and type. By doing so, you can better protect sensitive data and improve security. This process also helps you determine the amount of data you have in your possession.

Sensitive data may be stored on different media, including discs, tapes, mobile devices, or websites. Every potential source should be considered when creating an inventory. Make sure to involve each department in the process. This includes accounting, sales, and other teams. You should also include third-party service providers, like call centres and contractors.

Data inventory also makes your data searchable. Often, it is the first time a company has a common definition of data. If teams have different naming conventions, data inventory can be a confusing process. Make sure to use common, understandable labels and data value tags for your data.

•Use a corporate VPN. Encrypting data on corporate devices can prevent hackers from accessing sensitive information. The best way to protect data in this way is to set up a corporate VPN (a virtual private network). VPNs allow employees to connect to the internet securely while hiding the company’s IP address. This method is particularly important for employees working remotely and in public places.

Identifying sensitive data is an essential part of effective information security. You must understand how sensitive data is moved and who has access to it. The Federal Trade Commission recommends that organizations put sensitive data in inventory stored on storage devices and add the devices of employees who work from home. By identifying these locations, you can easily determine security vulnerabilities.

About the essayist: Idrees Shafiq  is a Research Analyst at AstrillVPN with diverse experience in the field of data protection, and cyber security, particularly internet security.


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