Cyber Security Tips for Employees

Ayush Saxena

Ayush Saxena

Jun 11, 2023

Hackers are constantly targeting employees to get their hands on sensitive data. It is important for companies to be up-to-date on the latest threats while taking steps to create cybersecurity awareness among all employees. 

As per  IBM Cyber Security Intelligence Index, human error is part of more than 95% of security breaches. A few cyber security tips for employees, as discussed below, go a long way in safeguarding your workplace against cyber security risks

Employees are a valuable target for attackers and are targeted with malware, phishing campaigns, and more to penetrate system security to access critical data. Security awareness training aids in minimizing risk, thus preventing the loss of PII, money IP, or brand reputation.

What is cyber security awareness for employees?

Cybersecurity awareness involves employees’ understanding of the nature of cybersecurity threats, decoding risk, and determining what actions employees should take if they encounter a threat.

Employees sometimes use company-issued devices and resources for personal use, especially since remote work has emerged. This may result in compromised security and may even lead to an opening that malicious actors can exploit.

Cyberattacks on employees can create a huge burden for the organization, resulting in loss of sensitive information, damage to reputation, and legal action in some cases. Human resources and cybersecurity training teams are working in collaboration to create ways that can help employees avoid cyberstalking and attacks.

Why do organizations need to educate employees about cybersecurity?

Security awareness training aids organizations in reducing the risk of data breaches, phishing attempts, malware infections, and other malicious activities. Organizations can ensure the safety of their data by providing employees with the knowledge as well as skills to identify and counter cyberattacks.

An effective awareness training program is aimed at addressing the cybersecurity mistakes that employees may commit when using the web, email, as well as in the physical world, including improper document disposal or tailgating.

Here are six reasons why cybersecurity awareness training is important for employees:

  • Attacks are on the rise, with more employees working from home.
  • To upgrade information security standards.
  • To counter issues with regard to human error.
  • To reduce stress levels and anxiety at work.
  • To prevent monetary damages to your organization.
  • Compliance requirements is aligned with employee training.

Cyber security tips for employees

It’s important to create awareness about cybersecurity best practices among employees to best protect your organization.

Here we have compiled the top 10 cyber security tips for employees:

Create strong passwords

Make a unique and lengthy password using a combination of numbers and special characters, uppercase and lowercase letters. For different sites, use different passwords and consider utilizing a password manager to store your passwords, such as LastPass. Also, passwords should never be shared with anyone.

Know how to identify phishing attempts

Be wary of emails or calls that ask for personal information or require “immediate action”. Carefully inspect links to ensure they come from a reputable site before clicking, and never respond to messages or emails asking for your username and password. 

Use 2FA

Consider adding 2 Factor Authentication to other applications or sites when available, such as your social media accounts or personal email. This extra layer of security authenticates your identity twice before providing access to your account and can protect you from having your paycheck redirected, or your email hijacked.

Lock your devices

Your devices should never be left unattended. Password protects your phone or tablet, and every time you step away from your computer, log off or lock your screen.

Protect personal information

Sensitive browsings, such as banking or shopping, should be done only on a network you trust and a personal device. 

  • Do not use a coworker’s phone,  coffee shop’s Wi-Fi, or public computer, as your data could be stolen or copied. 
  • Do not store personally identifiable information—such as employee Social Security numbers, corporate email addresses, or credit card numbers—on your personal device unless it is in an encrypted file.

Avoid unsecured Wi-Fi and use VPN

When travelling, either use a virtual private network (VPN) or your cellular network to get secure internet access. Refrain from accessing sensitive information while using a public network, such as online banking, and ensure that the network is reputable.

Back up your computer

Back up your files and data regularly with the help of IT support staff in your unit to protect you from losing all your work and personal data in the event of a ransomware attack.

Monitor your accounts

If you start seeing something unfamiliar or suspicious activity, it could be a warning that your account has been compromised. This could include emails in your sent folder you did not send or credit card transactions that you did not make.

Be alert

Always be aware when clicking links, visiting websites, opening attachments, or responding to phone calls and emails. Be conscious of what you plug into your computer, as viruses and malware can spread through infected flash drives, cellphones, and external hard drives.

Attend training

Request a cybersecurity presentation for your team or utilize the web to take advantage of free cybersecurity training resources such as LinkedIn Learning or the ITS website.

Also find out: Why cybersecurity is crucial.

Cybersecurity tips for remote workers

We will now deep dive into the steps individual remote employees can take to safeguard their own personal information as well as the organization’s sensitive information, as working from home networks is often less secure than company networks. 

The following security controls can be implemented at any time, both for personal and professional use in a remote setup:

Secure Your Home Office

When you’re working from home, physical security shouldn’t be neglected, and always lock up your device when leaving. 

Secure Your Home Router

Cybercriminals exploit default passwords on home routers as not many people bother to change them, leaving their home network vulnerable. 

Changing your router’s password to something unique and periodically is a simple step you can take to safeguard your home network against malicious actors who want access to your data and devices. 

Separate Work and Personal Devices

Carve out boundaries between your home life and work life, especially in a remote setup. 

This aids in reducing the amount of sensitive data leaked in case your work device or personal device has been compromised.

Encrypt Your Devices

You should turn on encryption if your employer hasn’t already enabled it for you, as it plays a vital role in reducing the security risk of stolen or lost devices, as it prohibits strangers from accessing the contents of your device without the password, biometrics, or PIN. 

Use Supported Operating Systems

On a daily basis, new exploits and vulnerabilities are posted to CVE, and they can often impact older versions of operating systems that are no longer supported by their developers.

Vulnerabilities put your device, as well as sensitive data, at risk as unsupported versions no longer receive security patches.

Keep Your Operating System and Software Up-To-Date

To minimize this risk,  ideally, via automatic updates, ensure all installed applications are up-to-date and all devices implement security patches as soon as possible. 

Enable Automatic Locking 

You should lock your device if you walk away from your laptop at your home office, coffee shop, or coworking space. Automatic locking protects our unattended devices in case we forget. 

By default, automatic locking is enabled on most modern devices.

Use an Antivirus

Antivirus software can safeguard your device against viruses, rootkits, spyware,  trojans, ransomware, and other types of malware. 

Enable Find My Device and Remote Wipe

When a device is stolen or lost, being able to locate and ideally remote wipe your device is a critical part of ensuring information security which makes it much harder to access your data, no matter how much the attacker tries to access the contents of the device.  

Use a Virtual Private Network (VPN)

VPNs enable remote access to secure computing assets and keep you secure on public hotspots as they make it hard for hackers to snoop on your traffic and intercept your activities. 

Find out: Why organizations should invest in Cybersecurity posture?

Strengthen your cybersecurity posture with Sprinto

The first step towards a cyber security strategy is to ensure employee training while creating cybersecurity awareness to avoid vulnerabilities arising due to human error. Next, place security controls in real-time and identify vulnerabilities while ensuring employees are compliant as well. 

In addition to automating your security and compliance procedures, Sprinto provides policy templates, automates security workflows, and helps schedule training sessions. 

Sprinto is an automated security compliance software that enables you to get a comprehensive, independent analysis of your current cyber security posture, continuously monitor entry-level risks, run compliance checks to consolidate risk, and map entity-level controls, all from a single dashboard.

It can identify vulnerabilities, mitigate the risk of attacks, expose weaknesses and high-risk practices, and continue to foster trust as well as confidence with your key investors and customers alike. Get in touch with us now to learn more.

FAQs

What are the 5 c’s of cyber security?

The five C’s of cyber security represent five areas of significant importance to all organizations. They are change, continuity, compliance, cost, and coverage.

What are some good cybersecurity habits?

Some good cybersecurity habits are:

  • Don’t click on suspicious links
  • Use VPN
  • Keep your software and OS up to date
  • Enable encryption

What are the 10 best methods used for cyber security?

10 effective steps towards cyber security are:

  • Risk management regime
  • Network security
  • Secure configuration
  • Incident management
  • Malware prevention
  • Managing user privileges
  • Monitoring
  • User education and awareness
Ayush Saxena

Ayush Saxena

Ayush Saxena is a senior security and compliance writer. Ayush is fascinated by the world of hacking and cybersecurity. He specializes in curating the latest trends and emerging technologies in cybersecurity to provide relevant and actionable insights. You can find him hiking, travelling or listening to music in his free time.

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