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Creating a Cyber Security Training Plan for Your Small Business

As a business owner, small business cybersecurity is top of mind for you, possibly even keeping you up at night with fears about a data breach. Every time you see headlines announcing a cyberattack in Fayetteville or St. Louis, you wonder if your business will be next. Contrary to what you might think, scammers don’t just target large corporations. Small businesses can find themselves in the cybersecurity crosshairs because they often lack the resources for a robust IT staff and cybersecurity strategy. However, there are clear steps you can take to create a cyber security training plan for your small business. Put these 8 tips into action to help protect your Arkansas or Missouri business against scammers.

1. Cybersecurity Best Practices

Your business’s cybersecurity training plan should have a strong foundation. That’s why you should teach your employees current cybersecurity best practices. You can either create your own presentation or purchase a training course. A good cybersecurity training should include the following:

  • How to create strong passwords
  • Password management best practices
  • Software and operating system updates
  • Anti-virus and firewall software
  • Wi-Fi Network best practices
  • Phishing and smishing messages
  • Multi-factor authentication
  • Secure physical storage of business documents and data

2. Continuing Education

You may provide initial cybersecurity training during the onboarding process, but you should also prioritize continuing education. For one thing, scammers’ tactics can change, requiring updated information and best practices. Regular reminders of the basics will also help keep cybersecurity top of mind for your employees.
Continuing education could look like:

  • Mandate annual training annually for all employees.
  • Test employees on their knowledge of cybersecurity basics. You could do this monthly or more frequently as needed. Consider giving out prizes or other rewards for perfect scores–this can make the process feel more fun.
  • Distribute a cybersecurity newsletter via email or physical document with information on the latest scams and relevant security tips.

3. Simulated Phishing Tests

Along with continuing education, a simulated phishing test program can test employees’ real-time response to potential threats. If someone fails a test, they can be assigned additional training. You can also use the data from phishing test results to evaluate strengths and weaknesses in certain departments and the business overall. For example, if a majority of employees fail the simulated phishing tests, that’s a sign you should re-evaluate your cybersecurity training.

4. Risk Scoring

Determine your company’s cyber risk score–a number that represents your company’s level of security vs. vulnerability. If your cybersecurity score indicates vulnerability, you can address those problematic areas before your business is seriously tested or succumbs to a cybersecurity attack.

5. Lead by Example

When it comes to cybersecurity, company leadership should display a good example for other employees to follow. Taking a “we’re all in this together” approach will help you win buy-in from everyone. This means that managers should take cybersecurity training, too, including training on how to handle their teams’ questions and concerns. Managers can also help by emphasizing the importance of the training and ensuring employees have time to complete it.

Small business owners should also invest in IT staff. Depending on the size of your firm, you may only need one dedicated IT person. Don’t neglect it altogether, though. The potential damage to your reputation and financial loss from a cybersecurity attack outweigh the cost of hiring IT personnel.

6. Dark Web Monitoring

The dark web refers to certain websites that can only be accessed with a specialized browser. To put it another way, you can’t find the dark web through a Google, Yahoo, or Bing search. Activity on the dark web is anonymous and private, which is why scammers use it to find and sell personal information, along with other illegal activity. There are a variety of tools for monitoring the dark web–this will alert you to any exposure of your personal or business information.

7. Develop A Response Plan

As important as a good cybersecurity program is for your business, it’s also important to have a response plan in the event that a cyberattack does occur. Creating a Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) will help you respond quickly to a data breach to prevent additional damage. Let your employees know what to do right away and who to notify if they’ve been the victim of a phishing attack or suspect they may have caused a data breach. Know in advance how your business will respond to and recover from the attack.

8. Evaluate and Revise Your Training

Schedule periodic evaluations of your current cybersecurity plan and training program. What needs to change or be added, deleted, or updated?

CS Bank is Dedicated to Cybersecurity

For more than a century, CS Bank has been dedicated to helping small businesses in Northwest Arkansas succeed. You can now find us in Southwest Missouri as well. In addition to providing business banking services and products to help your business grow, we also offer the resources you need to keep your business digitally secure. Learn more about protecting your business from bank fraud and scams. Contact us with questions!