Every business needs to take a multi-faceted approach to fully address online security issues. Only using one or two approaches may leave you unwittingly open to an attack. One way to improve your security is to teach your employees how to use the appropriate resources and protected devices for web-based work activities.

Protect Your Company From Online Threats First

Before training employees, you must make sure you have the right tools and security resources in place. Multiple layers of defense protect data and decrease the likelihood of your staff coming into contact with a threat. Here’s a quick list of some valuable protections. Does your company have them in place?

1. 3rd-Party Security Provider

With threats changing daily, your company's approach to Internet security should be dynamic, featuring the most current protections for your online needs. Whether you operate an ecommerce site, maintain operations through a cloud, or perform other daily activities online, invest in a comprehensive security platform. Make sure the product you choose has the capability to cover the services and interactions your business has on a daily basis.

2. Authentication

If you accept online payments or use the Internet to gather customer information, you should consider online authentication to decrease the threat of credit card fraud, advertising fraud, and more.

3. Message encryption

Always consult your industry’s guidelines for data encryption to prevent sensitive data from being stolen during online transmissions. Even large companies and their clients have fallen victim to hackers; do not let your business and customers be next.

Consult your third party vendor or your IT department for personalized online security solutions. Every industry and business is slightly different, but all require some type of commercial security solution to prevent sensitive data from being stolen.

Teaching Employees About Safe Online Practices

Once you have a security plan in place, write a handbook for safe online practices everyone who works for or with your company must use. Don't leave online security concerns solely to your IT person or department.

A comprehensive policy should include an employee training program. Here are some safe online practices every business should require of its employees:

1. Computer use

Companies have different ways of addressing employee computer usage. Some make it impossible to download new programs without IT department approval, while others may implement the honor system. Regardless, you should encourage employees to keep their computer systems clean with good practices for system organization, which can help mitigate isolated attacks.

2. Strong passwords

Encourage employees to choose strong passwords that have a mixture of character types and keep different passwords for each program they use. If applicable, offer a program to make keeping and using complex passwords easier.

3. Email monitoring

Consider using a viewing pane to inspect email contents before opening. Employees should not trust an email based on the sender's name alone. Instruct your employees on how to properly report suspicious emails.

4. Domain checks

Some hackers may try to redirect a URL to gain access to sensitive information. Encourage employees to double-check domain names when verifying orders or using a site to transmit sensitive data online.

5. Social media

Social media may be helpful in promoting your business, but it can also present problems. Teach your employees the best social media practices for maintaining personal and professional safety. Online criminals use social media information to tease out security question answers and other information that can be used for identity theft.

Communicate with your staff clearly and frequently regarding online safety. As technology changes, so does the landscape of threats. Everyone can benefit from regular safety reminders and new information to help identify threats and prevent criminals from accessing sensitive information.