Four Steps to Cultivating a Cyber Resilient Workforce

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Today, cyber-attacks are becoming more complex, and many businesses are still failing to instil optimum security protocols and provide the right training for employees to combat this issue.

According to the UK government’s 2023 Cyber Security Breaches Survey, British companies have experienced 2.39 million cyber-attacks over the past year, yet only 18% of them provided security training to their staff. This gap is concerning, and as cyber-attacks continue to increase, it’s imperative businesses work to address this immediately.

I believe that comprehensive cyber security protocols are achieved in joint effort with companies and their employees. It's important that businesses onboard solutions and policies that protect employees, customers and their data.

This should be coupled with rigorous training for employees to build knowledge around how to remain resilient and maintain optimum cyber hygiene. In this article, I will outline four ways businesses can upgrade their security protocols to ensure they are fully protected against attacks. 

Integrate Zero Trust Practices

Zero Trust, also known as “perimeterless”, has gone from a “buzz word” to a “must have” in a very short time. Adopting a Zero Trust model refers to an architecture whereby certain permissions and access codes are only granted to specific employees. The model is all about protecting against vulnerabilities and providing a secure roadmap for your organization to work by for years to come.

As many organizations continue to evolve and adapt their hybrid working policies, people, data, and devices will continue to be widely distributed and varied, making it tricker to ensure proper security management.

A Zero Trust model will ensure that employees re-authenticate to prove that they are who they say they are and to ensure that they have the privileges required to access a given application. It won’t just allow users to sign in with a “saved password or code”, even if they’ve done so before — they’ll always have to go through multi-factor authentication and various security measures before being granted access. This is especially critical if employees have blurred lines between their personal and work laptops. This process drastically cuts down risk and secures your business, increases visibility if you’re operating in a remote and cloud environment and helps to prevent data breaches.

Use a Virtual Private Network

Hybrid working resulted in an uptick in companies using the cloud to store and share data. A virtual private network (VPN), has become a popular way to support remote workers, secure cloud servers, and improve access to the data stored on such servers.

This works by allowing users to connect to the internet via a virtual network, assigning users a brand-new IP and hiding their true IP and location, while also using industry-grade encryption protocols to scramble traffic and make it unusable to others. VPN can be used on dedicated work computers and smartphones to protect data from cybercriminals and is a go-to solution for people who are working on public Wi-Fi.  

VPNs allow users to continue embracing the flexibility provided by hybrid working, as it can be used on dedicated work computers and smartphones to protect data from cybercriminals.

Embed Security Within the Company Culture

In any business, your employees are the first line of defence. As the world continues to become more digitally connected, it is essential that businesses protect against cybersecurity threats, and the most effective and efficient way to do this is by training staff to be savvy against cyber threats. This training must focus on phishing and ransomware.    

Training employees against phishing attacks is vitally important for business protection. These attacks attempt to steal user data like credit card and login details. Protection can be achieved by teaching employees to protect personal details, check domains and emails, and always be cautious.

Employees must also be trained to not give away sensitive personal information, check domains (companies will never use public domains for business), inspect email addresses and links, and remain cautious of messages that create a sense of urgency - which is usually an indicator of foul play.  

Add a Layer of Protection With The Cloud

Particularly when working from home, it can be tempting to store the data on local storage, be it a hard or thumb drive. While it is convenient, storing data on local storage comes with certain risks.

Implementing cloud storage for data is another great protection detail, as it keeps its servers behind the best firewalls and antivirus tools, rather than the data sitting on an unprotected drive that is relatively easy to hack.

Now more than ever, organizations must be agile and prepared to evolve their strategies in response to emerging threats. By embracing a proactive approach to cybersecurity, organizations can effectively mitigate risks and protect all assets.

Continuous training and updating of cyber security infrastructure is essential. With new technologies like AI infiltrating businesses, this is a necessary next step.

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