How to Design an Effective Cybersecurity Awareness Training Program for SMB Employees

Home » Blog » How to Design an Effective Cybersecurity Awareness Training Program for SMB Employees

How to Design an Effective Cybersecurity Awareness Training Program for SMB Employees

Every organization is a storehouse of data. It is highly important to protect this data from theft and damage and is essential to maintain the integrity of data at all times. Cyber security protects data from malicious attacks. Companies are always fearing that they are more susceptible to attacks by hackers making knowledge of cyber security very important. From large organizations to small and medium enterprises all organizations must be aware of cyber security programs and employ the same to prevent them from being attacked. Today cyber security awareness is the foremost topic discussed by anyone who transacts digitally. It is essential that every single individual from the top-level management to the bottom line employees must be trained in cyber security techniques to minimize the risk of network intrusion.

Why is cyber security essential for small and medium businesses?

It is a myth that only large organizations are in need of cyber security practices. But cyber security is equally important for small and medium businesses. Even though the size of an industry is small they still possess critical data that makes them attractive to cybercriminals. Normally in smaller organizations, customer information like bank credentials, medical records, and other details of their transaction is stored in the network without much security and this information can easily be hacked by the cybercriminals and then sold for a profit. One such common attack on customer data is insurance fraud. The Risk of Insurance fraud is increasing rapidly as criminals can sell the patient’s medical and billing information.

Small and medium businesses have access to many third-party suppliers and any vulnerability of a third-party vendor is a bonus factor for cybercriminals. Due to a lack of resources, the IT security in the small and medium businesses is very poor, and financial scarcity makes them turn towards IoT devices to reduce business costs and this makes them more susceptible to cybercriminals. The attacks are even automated by hackers in today’s digitalized world. More than 50% of attacks are aimed at small businesses. Hence it is high time to address the misconception that small and medium businesses are not a target for cybercriminals and start creating awareness on cyber security to protect thousands of small businesses across the world.

Awareness Measures to be undertaken by Small and Medium Businesses:

1. Regular password rotation:

Every single individual who is regularly accessing IT Systems on a daily basis should regularly follow the simplest yet important cyber security practice of Password rotation. The longer a password goes unchanged the greater the chance of it being susceptible to getting cracked. Committing data breaches via passwords is one of the most common forms of cyberattacks. According to a recent survey, a hacker is capable of trying approximately 2.18 trillion passwords within a span of 22 seconds which puts passwords that are simple at a greater risk. The greater the complexity of the password the lower it is susceptible to a cyber-attack. Employees must be taught about dictionary attacks. Any word that appears in a dictionary should never be used as a password as such since the hackers have a special skill to crack open them. Every employee of the organization must be adequately trained in the process of password rotation and organizations must send reminders to the employees at frequent intervals regarding the same.

2. Ensuring Multi-factor authentication:

Every employee should have multi-factor authentication enabled on his account. As a hacker will not have access to the fingerprints on one’s mobile they will not be able to log into an individual’s account and access sensitive data thereby ensuring the security of data. It is also extremely difficult to replicate one’s fingerprint and facial shape making biometrics an important factor in awareness training. These are additional security measures that help an organization in the long run.

3. Training IT staff at regular intervals:

Regular monitoring and training of IT staff are a prerequisite to ensuring cyber security. They should have the proper knowledge to identify, detect and mitigate risks as and when they happen. Due to collaborative working, the staff may access data remotely. The IT staff must be well trained to protect the system from getting hacked whenever remote access is made as even a single hacked device can leave the whole organization wide open. Hackers are always developing new attacks regularly which makes maintenance of cyber security a constant job. Since the attacks are regular, so should be the training. An annual or half-yearly training on cyber security will not do the job. Hence all the organizations including small and medium businesses must invest in employee training and allocate a proper budget for the same. Make sure all news on the cyber security front is shared with all the employees every week.

4. Awareness of Phishing and ways to avoid them:

Every employee of the organization must be aware of what phishing is. You would have come across several situations wherein a site asks you to click on a malicious link or asks you to open a malicious attachment. This process is known as phishing and it normally targets individual users. Phishing can also be done via e-mail. Whenever you come across a too good to be true claim, a site that asks you to do something on an urgent basis, any gift, giveaway, or promise that feeds on an individual’s greed or fear know that you are susceptible to Phishing. Clicking to open the link or file takes the user to a website that might infect the computer and solicit sensitive information. Accessing the link or file may result in malicious software being downloaded or access being provided to the information stored on your computer or other computers within your network. Small and Medium businesses must implement Multi-factor authentication and incident response plans to manage successful phishing attacks. Develop software in such a manner that whenever an employee clicks on phishing e-mails the proven and tested response procedures pop up. Awareness training on phishing helps small and medium businesses to ensure the safety of their sensitive data.

5. Securing key areas:

An organization can be secure only if all the departments are free from cyber attacks. The degree of sensitive data varies for each department. Hence an organization needs to collaborate with the different teams, identify the importance of their core data and implement training programs based on the same as a single cyber security awareness training will not cater to the needs of the entire organization.

6. Installation of security solutions:

Based on the nature, size, and complexity of the entity every organization must implement important security apps on the electronic device of all the employees to protect sensitive data. One such mandatorily required app is the Antivirus solution. Antivirus scans the entire files in the system for malicious programs like Trojans. All the employees must be advised to update the antivirus frequently and be trained to run periodic scans on their system especially when they are downloading something new. Employees must be thought to use multi-factor authentication wherever possible. Ensure the employees switch on their VPN whenever they share data across the Internet. Employees must be provided with anti-phishing training material and be frequently quizzed on topics of cyber security so as to increase their knowledge of them. Offer rewards to any employee who notices any vulnerability in the system.

7. Insider Threats:

One of the most common forms of cyberattacks is through former employees and business associates who still have access to the organization’s data. Make sure to do a password rotation so as to avoid data leakage. Ensure employees are given access only to those areas that require their functioning. Devise various security policies to protect data access. Be clear about which computers may access and store sensitive data and limit the users who can log in from remote desktops. Encrypt data at rest on all the mobile devices so that even if unauthorized persons come across the device the data remains inaccessible.

8. Call to Action

Gather the Key managerial Personnel of an organization with the head of every department and make a well-defined plan to address cyber security threats. Allocate budgets to the departments and launch the cyber security awareness program. Have a call to action in mind whenever a security issue is faced by the organization. Having a predetermined plan with a call to action helps in tackling any security issue that has the potential to harm the entire organization.

We at sharkstriker help in managing your security services and help in making your network resilient. We help you navigate all the security challenges with our next-gen managed security services and we deliver rigorous and scalable cybersecurity. We also help in detecting breaches and aim at protecting sensitive patient information by identifying risky users. We identify the vulnerabilities in the industry and provide adequate remedies to mitigate the same. Our mission is to protect IoT devices from cyberattacks and help in creating a safe and secure virtual environment for our users.


Complete Visibility, Continuous Monitoring
& Advanced Threat Protection with
AI-backed Incident Remediation.

Read More >

Latest Post


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *