Protect your data by properly training your employees on cyber safety

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By Paul Carlisle for TCAJOB

Many large-scale manufacturers, construction, and fabrication companies integrate a safety program into their everyday operations — from morning safety meetings, ongoing worker training, to rewards systems for practicing safety measures. But many businesses, both large and small, fail to create even the most basic IT security program, even when the stakes are high.

Paul Carlisle
Paul Carlisle,

A data breach — an incident in which unauthorized persons gain access to critical corporate or customer data — can come with significant fines for small businesses.

According to a report by the Verizon RISK team in conjunction with the U.S. Secret Service, small businesses can pay more than $36,000 to recover from a single data breach and comply with mandatory post-breach processes such as notifying customers and hiring an external investigation.

We go to great lengths to support our clients with the right tools and the right education. But, even the best IT tools in the world can’t help you unless you properly train your employees to safeguard sensitive data online and protect company IT resources.

It is employees — not viruses or hackers — that cause over half of all security breaches, either through operational error, like downloading the wrong software, or deliberate mishandling of corporate IT systems. Your employees can be the greatest gatekeepers or the greatest threat to IT security. And it all starts with proper training.

Train employees in basic security principles 

Establish a standard on safety protocols to ensure critical client information and corporate data is not exposed to security breaches. While many operate under HIPAA or PCI compliance measures, that doesn’t mean other small business owners can’t implement simple measures to train employees on what is and isn’t appropriate. For the small business owner this means putting practices and policies in place that promote security, train employees to identify and avoid risk, and establish rules on how to handle vital data.

Establishing an internal cyber safety-training program to teach best practices like creating and managing strong passwords, appropriate internet use, and software installation policies and procedures, can make a significant difference in employee cyber security awareness. Moreover, you should consider implementing a written policy that clearly spells out proper protocols, roles and responsibilities, and expectations for managing digital data and software.

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