There is no doubt that tight security is a fundamental aspect of any successful business. If a business is not well protected, it is exposed to many risks that can bring productivity to a screeching halt.

And with the rise of digital technology in the modern business landscape, company owners have been required to not only focus on the physical security of their business but also its cybersecurity. Of course, there are plenty of technological innovations that have made shoring up your cybersecurity far easier than ever before. However, there’s one thing that, no matter what security measures you might have in place, can pose a threat to the security of your business: human error.

Your Staff Is Your Biggest Cybersecurity Weakness

The truth is that your employees likely pose the greatest threat to your business’s cybersecurity. Unlike systems and devices, human negligence occurs because staff are allowed to make decisions, such as when to upgrade those systems, which emails to open, and more. These decisions, if not made wisely, can lead to huge security pitfalls for your business.

Fortunately, there’s much you can do to train your employees not only to prevent them from putting your data at risk but also to transform them from a security liability to an asset. Here’s where you should start:

Train Your Staff to Recognize Phishing Emails

Phishing emails are the most common element of many cybersecurity breaches. In fact, phishing elements are included in 90% of all data breaches. This means that being able to spot a phishing email is essential for your employees.

A phishing email is one that is designed to mimic an email from another business or from personnel within your organization. These kinds of emails could appear to be from a coworker, bank, credit card company, or even a large company like Paypal or Microsoft.

These emails often address you as though something has happened that requires immediate attention. They are designed to make you worry and then present you with a solution. This causes people to log on to fake websites with their real information or inadvertently download malicious attachments, causing major security impacts to your company.

Of course, phishing emails are far from watertight—they often have plenty of tells that allow you to spot them. Here are the red flags your staff should be looking out for:

  • The email requests personal information: If an email requests personal information, it’s likely not legitimate. Businesses won’t ask for your personal information from any other place except their official login page, so phishing emails that ask you to enter a password or credit card number elsewhere can be easily spotted.
  • The email features a generic greeting: Phishing emails often begin with a generic greeting such as “Dear Madam/Sir.” It’s also a good idea to encourage your employees to treat any email of this kind with suspicion and contact the organization in question to validate it. That way they can always be sure that it’s secure.
  • The email includes suspicious attachments: If the email contains attachments that look suspicious, it’s critical that employees avoid downloading them. These are often packed with malware that can infect your systems.
  • The email comes from a strange email address or includes bad grammar: Phishing emails are often riddled with grammatical errors and may come from an email address that you a) don’t recognize and b) appears strange, such as including a long string of numbers.

As you train your staff to look out for these red flags, they can be more equipped to prevent successful phishing attacks.

Provide Incident Response Training and Simulations

One of the most common problems that businesses run into when a security incident does occur is that their staff doesn’t know how to properly respond. Without well-tested response procedures in place for various types of IT disasters, employees are likely to respond incorrectly and cause your business to suffer greater periods of downtime or data loss.

The best way to combat improper incident response is to provide simulations that mimic potential IT disasters. That way your employees can better understand how to function under pressure and respond correctly depending on the scenario. It’s important to execute and update these simulations regularly and conduct them across all departments.

Partner with a Managed Service Provider

With all of the other things that require your attention, it’s likely you don’t have a lot of spare time to train your staff in cybersecurity. That’s why it’s so important to work alongside a Managed Service Provider (MSP) who offers comprehensive cybersecurity training services and can show you where you need more comprehensive cybersecurity planning.

An MSP can not only train your personnel to become a far more efficient first line of defense, but they can also help your business with robust cybersecurity services to protect your systems from threats. They perform regular risk assessments to determine exact areas of your infrastructure that are vulnerable and need improvement, as well as provide ways to enhance your response procedures at every turn.

If you want to be sure that the cybersecurity measures of your business are always up to the standard that you need them to be, it is imperative that you focus on staff training. If you find yourself ignoring this aspect of cybersecurity, you run the risk of exposing your business to serious risk. Working with a professional to supplement your digital security with staff training is a sure way to keep human error to a minimum and prevent costly data breaches.