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IT Security | How to protect your business by training your employees on how to be safe

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By S.N

8 th Sep 2016

Keep your business safe: why employee IT training makes sense

Your employees are your company's greatest assets, so you need to invest in them. In today's always-on business world, it's crucial to make sure that your employees understand how to maintain IT security. Whether it's keeping sensitive data secure or following good password practice, giving your employees the guidance they need will pay for itself many times over. Here are some key ways in which training can help keep your company secure:

 

Secure, strong passwords

Maintaining good practice in this area should be second nature for every employee, so make sure everyone understands what constitutes a strong password. Although most people appreciate that obvious passwords like "letmein" are insecure, many employees still believe that a good password is a long string of gibberish. In fact, this can make things less secure, as people may resort to storing hard-to-remember passwords in insecure places. A better option is to ask them to think of a few normal English words strung together, such as "Tortoise curtains marmalade poise", and visualise a scene containing all four things.

 

Appropriate second-layer security

Not all operations will require the same level of security, so make sure that employees who have access to particularly sensitive data – especially if it could be used by competitors – use especially strong passwords and phrases. It's also recommended to enable two-step authentication in such cases; when well set up, this adds a useful extra layer of protection without significantly inconveniencing legitimate users. Stress to employees that reminders and clues to passwords should never be left anywhere near computers, but stored well away from them.

 

Good backup discipline and tidiness

Cluttered systems are not only slower, they can also cause serious security problems. Well-maintained computers are easily checked for unauthorised programs, something easy to miss if they're full of games and photos. Make sure there's a clear company policy for what is and isn't permitted, ensure every employee understands it, and enforce it rigorously. This will also help to keep data backups clean. Backing up should ideally be done automatically at regular intervals, but it may also be done manually by employees.

 

Enabling staff to help

Among the most useful things your employees can do to enhance corporate security is to be extra pairs of eyes. Encourage them to report anything unusual they encounter on their work computers, and never criticise them for being over-cautious. Make sure they understand how to deal with unsolicited email, and that they should never risk clicking on links they aren't certain about. It's also very helpful if they can make use of spam filters to prevent unwanted messages reaching them at all.

 

These steps are all easily achievable for any company, but despite their simplicity they can make your systems a great deal more secure. Enabling your employees to prevent risks and to deal with potential security problems according to your corporate policies will also result in a more confident and productive workforce.

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