Information security awareness: 5 getting-started tips

There are a lot of factors that influence system or information security in a business. The way the network is set up, whether encryption is used to protect sensitive data, and how incoming and outgoing connections are handled are a few factors that need to be taken into account if you are serious about protecting your business’ information.

On the other hand, there is also the human factor of the system. Employees are just as involved in protecting the business’ information and IT solutions as the security measures put in place as safeguards. That is why increasing employees’ information security awareness is important; here are the top 5 getting-started tips you can use right away:

Cover the basics

Good information security awareness starts with understanding the basics. Provide training that will help employees understand information security best practices. Don’t skip the simple things; assume that everyone is learning from the beginning to be extra certain that the necessary basics are covered properly.

The majority of cyberattacks and cases of information theft happened because of simple mistakes such as using a weak password or sharing the same password with other personal accounts. The mistakes may be simple, but those simple mistakes can jeopardise your entire information system and the smooth operations of your business.

Compartmentalise

Every employee in the company must have sufficient understanding of basic information security requirements. Knowing those basic things will help employees be more aware about the things they need to do – and standards that must be maintained – to ensure maximum information security at all times.

There are also system-specific or role-specific training that employees must also receive to further improve their awareness level. This is where compartmentalising the training program comes in handy. Instead of spending a lot of money to train every employee, you can start excluding employees that don’t require more advanced training once the basic training is completed.

Work in layers using difficulty level or access level as the parameter to group employees. For example, mid-level managers can stop after a certain level of training, while top-level managers must continue with additional training sessions. The compartmentalisation can also be based on departments and the kind of information they handle regularly.

Regular audits

There are reasons why relying on third-party service providers is considered the more effective (and efficient) way to go. Having an experienced team of IT experts evaluating the company’s information system from the outside is a huge advantage that you can truly benefit from as far as information security is concerned.

The fresh pairs of eyes looking into the company from the outside make regular audits more accurate. Potential security holes can be discovered and fixed quickly, allowing the business to safeguard its sensitive information better. Leaks can also be prevented this way.

There is also the fact that experts assisting you with IT services can see unique problems that you may not be able to see from the inside. For example, access to the dark web from within the company’s network poses serious security threats, and such access can be detected quickly with regular audits. You can learn more about the dark web and the security risks associated with it as well.

Add security measures

Employees are trained in information security best practices so that they can be an integral part of the business’ information system. That said, you must not put your trust in the employees 100%. Proper security measures must still be put in place to prevent the most common issues.

As a matter of fact, many IT experts consulting for businesses use employee training sessions as opportunities to identify more potential risks. In the case of employees using weak passwords, for instance, the system can be programmed to force employees to use a combination of certain characters for maximum security.

Get employees engaged

Last but not least, make sure employees are just as engaged about information security as the organisation. Employee engagement is something that can be aroused and improved. Once the employees are engaged, improving information security awareness and maintaining a high standard of information security is easier to do.

Let employees make suggestions that can help improve the existing security measures. Make sure employees can report potential information security issues without hassle and without having to deal with additional, often complicated procedures. It is also a good idea to encourage employees to report anomalies in the system or the people around them.

Combined with the previous tips and tricks, employee engagement is a fantastic instrument for boosting the business’ information security and the employees’ level of awareness to another level. At this point, maintaining high security standards is a walk in the park. You can stop worrying about cyberattacks and information theft and start focusing your energy towards, catering to the customers, improving the business’ workflows, and taking the business to success.

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