Talking to Your Team About Cyber Threats


What does the single strongest cybersecurity measure a business can take? The answer might be simpler than you think: Educating staff about the risk of cyberattacks and training them how to spot and avoid them.

Technical tools and other safeguards are still important. But when actual users are proactive about security, vulnerability and liability drop drastically.

Prioritizing training and education is the first step. The crucial second step is to plan your approach. This is only a productive process if you deliver the right information in the right way. That way your team can easily and effectively use safer measures on a daily basis. Here are some tips for talking to your team about cyber threats:

  • Make the Issue Personal – Cybersecurity is about protecting employee data as much as company or customer data. When employees feel like they have a personal investment in data security they take the issue more seriously. Also stress that cyber incidents negatively affect individual employees along with the larger institution.
  • Illustrate Human Error – Teams must understand that human error is a major cause of cyber incidents. Stress this fact in training and highlight common human errors and the problems they cause. This creates a clear link between individual user’s actions and the company’s broader cybersecurity strategy.
  • Describe Common Threats – Many attacks target lower-level employees. Train employees how to spot common red flags and understand likely types of attacks. Since many of the attacks are able to bypass filters, employees are on the front lines of defense. Make sure they understand what warning signs to look for and what action to take in response.
  •  Use Actionable Examples – Cybersecurity training can be an information overload. Help make the information stick by focusing on actionable steps teams will take in real-world scenarios. The fewer the steps the better, so focus on the cybersecurity principles that all staff must follow. That way they become automatic by the end of training.
  •  Include Everyone – Cybersecurity is an issue at every level and in every department. Ideally, training is mandatory twice a year. Making this a regular priority keep employees informed about new threats or policies. It also creates a cybersecurity culture that treats this threat seriously at all levels.
  • Do Something Creative – Cybersecurity is a serious issue, but training does not have to be a dull. As with any type of training, participants get more out of it when they’re engaged. Finding creative ways to present information tends to be more effective then endless PowerPoint slides. Even something like free candy can help to get trainees on board.
  •  Revise and Update – Companies are constantly updating their cyber security planning guide. That means they must update their training and education efforts accordingly. Incorporate new information along with new resources, approaches, tools etc. Training that is stale, irrelevant, or incomplete doesn’t help teams or their employers.

It is impossible to overstate the value of education and training in cybersecurity. Not only does it improve security significantly. It’s also one of the most economical forms of defense there is. Make it the centerpiece of your strategy, then build the rest of your protections around it.