What Employees Need to Know About Cybersecurity: 10 Practical Tips

23 March 2023

Cybersecurity on a laptop

In today’s hyper-connected world, where technology is a part of our daily lives, we can all benefit from applying cybersecurity best practices. 

During the COVID-19 pandemic, with the introduction of remote working, businesses catapulted into embracing technology. But this sudden boost into the future also opened doors for a rise in cybercrime. According to statistics, the global cost of cybercrime was estimated at 8.4 trillion U.S. dollars in 2022 (Statista).  

Every day cybercriminals attack businesses. And as employees, there are a few things you can do to help minimise the risks of cyberattacks

 

Ten cybersecurity tips for employees

 Without further ado, here are ten best practices you can implement to protect your workplace against the most common cybersecurity risks. 

 

1. Follow the company’s security policies

As an employee, you are the oganisation’s first line of defence against cyber threats. So, it’s up to you to practice safe computing in the workplace. If you’re unsure and in doubt, refer to the corporate security policy and keep a copy handy. 

2. Keep your software up-to-date.

Regular software updates are an important step in defence against cyberattacks. Why? Because this will include the latest security updates for your device. A couple of ways you can do this is by 

  • Turning on auto-updates on your computer.

  • Using the latest web browsers (Chrome/Firefox). 

If in doubt, speak to your IT team. They’ll be able to guide you in the right direction and even work on the essential updates for you. 

 

3. Beware of phishing scams

Have you ever received a suspicious-looking email? This is a phishing scam. You may also get these as a phone call or text message. The primary goal of a phishing scam is to retrieve personal information from you, such as credit card details. In this scenario, listen to your gut and immediately delete the email without clicking on it. And if it’s a phone call, end it and report it right away. 

 

4. Practice good password management

Hands up if you’re guilty of using the same password for multiple channels. Yes, we’ve all done it. With so many passwords to manage and remember, it’s easy to use one for all. It’s time to add this to your list of unsafe cyber practices and consider a password manager to help maintain and generate uniquely strong passwords.

 

5. Never leave your device unattended.

Meetings, lunch, bathroom breaks – you will have ample reasons to be away from your workstation. In this case, always

  • Lock the computer or switch it off so no one else can use it. 

  • Encrypt and safely store away any flash drives you may be using. 

  • If possible, keep your mobile phone with you at all times. If you can’t take it with you, store it away safely. 

 

6. Safeguard sensitive data

When dealing with sensitive data, it’s best practice to encrypt the files with passwords. And where possible, keep sensitive data off the computer. 

 

7. Install antivirus/anti-malware 

The good news is many antivirus and anti-malware software providers are available to help protect your devices. While your IT team will have installed these on all desktop devices, it’s a good idea to ask them to add this layer of protection to your work mobile devices and laptops - if they have not already done so. Let’s not forget your personal mobile devices! After all, many of us use them to check our emails. 

 

8. Protect your mobile devices.

Speaking of mobile devices, considering how much we use them, they are also prone to cyber-attacks. So, while ensuring you protect with top-notch antivirus software, you’ll also want to do the following: 

  • Lock the device securely with a pin or password. 

  • Do not leave it unattended. 

  • Only download apps from a trusted source. 

  • Keep the operating system up to date. 

  • Beware of phishing emails and calls.

  • Avoid storing personal/sensitive information on mobile phones. 

  • Avoid using company devices for personal use. 

9. Do not connect unknown USB devices. 

Did you know attackers can program USB devices to execute malicious attacks on the computer and track user activity? Hence, as best practice, you should only use company-authorised USB devices at work as your IT team are likely to have scanned them for spyware. So the next time you receive a free USB at an event, think twice before inserting it into your computer.

 

10. Back up regularly

Often forgotten or left until deemed necessary, backing up your work is vital. If you are ever a victim of a cyberattack, the only way to fix the issue is to erase everything and start from scratch by re-installing the system. So, put a note in your diary to schedule a daily backup. 

 

In the meantime, you can stay up-to-date with the latest information on cyber threats via services such as the Australian Cyber Security Centre

 

Are you interested in a career in cybersecurity?

If you’re ready to step into the world of AI and put your skills to practice, contact us today. We’ll work with you to find you a cutting-edge career in this ever-growing industry.