A single, unsecured laptop, smartphone — or these days, even a smartwatch — can be the entry point for immense damage to your company. (Sorry to break it to you).
But among all the solutions available, from endpoint security protocols to good old virus scanners and firewalls, one of the most important measures to take has nothing to do with buying more services.
That measure, namely, is to implement mobile security training. Trained employees who responsibly use mobile tech can drastically reduce the potential for data breaches, malware and other threats that can hurt your network and, in turn, your bottom line. With the proper training, employees understand why enterprise security is everybody’s responsibility, motivating them to secure the devices they use.
Here are three reasons, in more detail, why company-wide training is the key to enterprise endpoint security.
Employees Will Help Prevent Security Breaches and Reduce Attack Risks
It’s simply the most direct, immediate benefit of mobile security training. When employees are educated about specific, existing risks — and shown how to do their part in averting those risks — they’re empowered to keep the whole company safe.
Let’s say a particular employee has heard about phishing scams. However, that same employee might have unknowingly shared login credentials with a fake website, using the very same smartphone he brings into the office every day.
Therein lies the problem.
Good training will encourage employees to keep good mobile security habits top-of-mind in their daily lives, improving security when they bring their devices back to work. This applies whether employees are doing actual remote work — which is where 47% of IT pros on average, from 2011-2015, placed the blame for rising endpoint security risk according to Ponemon — or are using mobile devices on their own time.
For example, training can help instill the habit of using VPNs properly and always “going through the trouble” of securing credentials with two-factor authentication whenever possible.
Properly-trained employees are also better equipped to be on the lookout for mobile security vulnerabilities. If an employee’s mobile phone antivirus flags a potential threat, that person can be cognizant enough of the potential fallout to immediately report it to IT, rather than just “brushing it off” and bringing the compromised endpoint back to work.
Also, while the “good guys” of the internet are working to create a safer web for all — as with Google’s initiative to deprecate non-HTTPS websites — your corporation can get ahead of the curve by training employees to look for things such as HTTPS manually.
Mobile Security-Savvy Employees Create a Security-Conscious Office Culture
With the ubiquity of mobile tech, the lines between a typical employee’s unsecured mobile life and work have been irreversibly blurred. We have the BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) trend to thank for that, making corporate networks everywhere more vulnerable. And the Internet of Things certainly won’t slow that down.
The Ponemon Institute’s 2016 State of the Endpoint Report identifies employees as the number-one source of endpoint risk. Given that and an atmosphere of “carelessness” surrounding mobile, how can we be proactive about enterprise security?
You can’t reverse global trends, but you can build a security-conscious culture in which workers understand cybersecurity challenges — how real they are, and how much potential they have to hurt everyone — and can hold each other accountable.
A corporate culture informed by mobile security training comes with several deep benefits. For one, broadly speaking, employees who know how important they are to a company’s success feel more important…which positively influences performance. The payoff meshes with endpoint security as well: a personally-invested workforce will be naturally “smarter” about mobile device usage.
After all, a company that stays afloat partly by avoiding costly security breaches is one that can continue to pay and offer benefits to its workers. Employees who “get” that are primed to act on mobile security best practices.
Another benefit of training is that employees can hold each other to a high standard. If one person sees a colleague leaving a phone unattended, the former can gently (emphasis on gently) remind the latter of the danger. Or, a trained employee who discovers that a commonly-used website is suddenly unsecured (e.g., it has an expired certificate, or it’s tripping antivirus software) can shoot off a quick email about it to coworkers.
Since the BYOD trend is here to stay, it’s critical for employees to police themselves. With training, the endpoints interacting with your network will be more secure, because more people are invested in keeping things that way.
Training Reduces the Burden on IT and InfoSec Departments
It’s a burden proudly — if tediously — borne by IT departments everywhere. That is, “cleaning up the mess” from breaches and attacks originating from employee errors and carelessness.
But imagine a world in which security departments are less weighed-down with support requests, and can actually spend more time on infrastructure improvements and future-proofing. We’re not living in such a dream world…but that’s a very realistic goal for companies that implement mobile security training across the board.
The fact remains, IT departments are more bogged down with addressing vulnerabilities and full-blown attacks than they should be. When corporate employees are savvy about endpoint security, lessened risks and “innocent” user blunders mean a lower support burden on IT.
With training, not only will employees be better network and endpoint guardians…and more motivated, at that…they’ll be better able to explain issues to IT should one arise that is out of their wheelhouse.
For an IT department that’s freed from critical security issues and inefficient communications with employees, the sky’s the limit. Suddenly, there’s more freedom to optimize current protocols and keep abreast of the latest threats and solutions. Fewer weak spots will fly under the radar. Money and human resources will be spared.
In short: everyone’s happier.
Mobile security training for employees is one of the best ways to ensure your corporation is safe and secure from devastating attacks. A human-centric solution alone, of course, isn’t enough — you’ll want to have a best-in-class endpoint security solution in place, and then train employees on how it works. A multifaceted approach like this is the safest one possible.