When you leave your small business each night at closing time, you can set the alarm, lock the doors and know that your business is protected. One person, following the directions, can secure the building.
However, the security of your computers, data and network are not cared for so easily. You can’t reduce cybersecurity to the responsibility and actions of one person. Every person who operates a computer in your small business, the IT professionals who set up your systems and even the companies that provide the software you run can all dramatically impact the security of your computers and data.
October is National Cyber Security Awareness Month. I always stress the importance of revisiting the topic with your small business employees at your regular meetings, but this special month is a good time to redouble your efforts, look at the big picture and make sure your team is up to speed.
If you had a broken window where a burglar could gain access to your business, you’d take care of it immediately, right? Well, unless they are properly trained and have the right attitudes, your employees are the digital version of that broken window.
If you check the website referenced above, you’ll see that each week has a specific cybersecurity topic associated with it:
- General Cybersecurity Awareness
- Creating a Culture of Cybersecurity at Work
- Connected Communities: Staying Protected While Always Connected
- Your Evolving Digital Life
- Building the Next Generation of Cyber Professionals
The page also offers links to resources you’ll find helpful. Touch bases with others in your local small business community and see if there are any nearby events you can attend or send your employees to. Sending employees off campus for seminars and conferences is a great way to get “buy in” on issues like these. And when I scan the list of weekly topics above, the second one – Creating a Culture of Cybersecurity at Work – is perhaps the most important for a small business owner.
As a fun way to get your team thinking about these issues and putting cybersecurity in perspective, check out this cybersecurity quiz on the Christian Science Monitor website. It covers a lot of cyber attack history and highlights the extensive and costly damage that can result from these digital incursions.
After getting the big picture, you might have your employees take this quiz that is designed for computer users. When we become aware of the things we don’t know, it makes us more cautious and motivates us to learn more.
If you want to have some fun with these, try a little “gamification” and offer a prize for the person who scores the highest on the two quizzes.
But in the end the real winner will be your small business, if you can elevate your culture of cybersecurity.
More reading: Security expert Robert Siciliano has written some excellent guest posts for us on small business security and several cover important cybersecurity topics.