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Top Tips to Improve Employee Awareness of Internet Security

10.03.2013
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The key to keeping a business’ online security as strong as possible is in the employees’ training. There’s no point investing in various security measures and being conscientious yourself if your employees aren’t on board. By improving employee awareness and introducing them to various tips to ensure their computer is safe and secure, you will have more chance of avoiding any sort of malicious activity.

A recent infographic by Symantec has helped to show a shift in website security threats during 2012, with an increase in smaller businesses being targeted as well as the larger enterprises. The infographic, that comes in two parts (part 1 and part 2), not only gives some insight into the latest trends but also helps businesses to become more secure by adopting secure practices.

You can improve employee awareness of internet security by encouraging them to:

  • Keep clean machines. Make sure employees aren’t installing their own software or programs – that’s up to the administrator. Set clear boundaries about what they can keep on their work computer – after all, they should only be using it to work! Outside programs can introduce various levels of vulnerability to your business and can mean your network could be compromised by viruses and malware.
  • Use strong passwords. Ensure that your staff use strong, unique passwords – not just for their computer logon but for any site they need to log on to for work purposes, too. The longer the password, the better – ask them to use a series of letters, numbers and special characters, that they will be able to remember without having to write it down anywhere. Make sure that they understand how important it is to keep these passwords private, so that your business’ data will remain secure.
  • Avoid clicking on unknown links in emails. Emails are awful for spam and malware and, while your spam filter may be able to catch most of them, a couple are bound to slip through. Make sure your employees know not to click on unknown links or file attachments in their emails, tweets or ads. Make sure that they also understand the purpose of the spam filters.
  • Back up their work. If you have an IT administrator, you can set it so that your employees’ work is backed up automatically. Make sure that work is protected so that if it’s lost or compromised, it’s not the huge disaster that it could’ve been.
  • Speak up if they see something odd. Whether it’s on their computer, on the network or online, if they see something strange or have found something out of place, make sure they know that they can raise it with you. That way, the rest of your staff can be told about it, if need be, and security measures can be put in place, if necessary.
  • Keep professional and personal separate. Some offices allow staff to use computers for personal use, during lunchtimes, for example. However, this can open your business up to a whole other world of potential security breaches. Scams on facebook and viruses sent through personal email accounts are rife, and it’s very difficult to police what websites staff are using. Consider whether a block ban on the  personal use of work computers would be a wise move.

Employees need to understand their roles and responsibilities within your company – no amount of security measures will help you if you’re not all reading from the same song sheet. Implement policies across the board and you can guarantee a better level of security, from every angle.  

Published at DZone with permission of Paul Andrews, author and DZone MVB.

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