Tips for Employees to Stay Secure Online and Avoid Cyber Threats

When it comes to following cybersecurity best practices, having the right policies, technology, and a proactive IT strategy is certainly a good place to start. However, cybersecurity experts have always laid strong emphasis on employee training and awareness as the real solution for keeping the employees safe online and preventing common cyber threats.

Studies have shown that the risk of cyber threats is reduced by over 70% when employees are trained for following cybersecurity best practices at work. This is primarily why smart companies invest in training their employees how to stay safe online – an investment that results in a 37-fold return on investment (ROI), on average.  

In this article, we will have a look at some of the most common cyber threats for businesses and share some of the best tips for employees to stay safe online.

 How to Avoid Phishing Attacks

As shocking as it may sound, phishing attempts contribute to as much as 95% of successful cyber attacks.  Even if a single employee falls prey to a phishing attempt and clicks on a malicious link, it could result in a data breach, corporate blackmail, and huge losses for the business.

Here are some tips to avoid phishing attacks, and keep yourself and your company safe from future cyber threats:

  •     Ignore all suspicious emails, pop-up webpages, or any other form of communication that you didn’t initiate.
  •     Never reveal any sensitive personal or company information when requested for it online. Instead, reach out to the HR department right away to confirm the source and authenticity of the request.
  •     Be extra cautious of links and email attachments from senders that you don’t recognise.
  •     Watch out for unsecured and fake URLs, even if they seem legitimate at first glance. Such URLs typically contain unusually placed symbols, small typos, and other minor differences that might go unnoticed.
  •     Stay vigilant even when browsing through blogs or using social media sites, especially when on the company network.


Why You Need to Use Very Strong Passwords

More often than not, passwords that are easy to guess or commonly used in multiple accounts online make it easy for cybercriminals to hack into your company’s network and access sensitive company information. This is why it’s recommended to use unique and complex passwords that are strong enough to avoid such an infiltration.

Here are some additional tips to help you choose stronger passwords and stay secure online:

  •     Try to use long and highly cryptic passwords.
  •     Avoid using numbers associated with any of your personal details.
  •     Never save your passwords in your browser.


The Importance of Using a Secure Network Connection

It goes without saying that office Wi-Fi networks need to be secure and hidden from the public – and it’s likely that your office network administrator is taking care of this already. But what should you do if you’re working remotely and not connected to the secure office network? In such a situation, you should use a reliable VPN (virtual private network) software to connect to your office network. Avoid using public Wi-Fi networks without a VPN, since it can be quite risky and make it easy for cybercriminals to intercept sensitive data from your online activities. Seek guidance from your company’s IT support team if you’re not sure how to install, enable, and use VPN on your devices.

Be Careful of What Applications You Download and Use on Your Devices

One of the top goals of cybercriminals is to somehow trick you into downloading apps, software, or programs that carry malware. It could be disguised as anything – from a weather app to a popular online game. This is why it’s recommended that you avoid downloading apps that come from a site you don’t trust or one that looks suspicious. However, feel free to install apps that are approved by your company’s IT team as secure applications and maintained in their online repository for company employees.

Install All the Recommended Security Patches and Software Updates

If your company’s IT team sends out instructions to install security patches or update any software currently installed on your system, get it done promptly. This rule applies to any and all devices that you use at work. By doing this, you are helping yourself and your company stay protected against the latest cyber threats that emerge online frequently.

Final Thoughts

Cybersecurity training and awareness is no longer an option for SMEs, but an urgent necessity. Every employee of the company plays an equally important role in protecting the company’s private business data and needs to be trained for keeping themselves and the business safe from lurking cybercriminals.

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