If you read or watch the news, then it is no surprise that companies’ electronic systems get compromised all the time, whether big or small. The biotech and life science industry is no stranger to these threats. Even with antivirus and antimalware systems in place, breaches are still possible through the vulnerable path of your employees.
End-user security training is crucial to protecting your data security and intellectual property. Some of the biggest mistakes happen when people are working quickly and do not stop to think or ask before they click or share information.
Learn from your experienced team at Data Evolution about why end-user security training matters, from onboarding to offboarding.
Why end-user security training matters for all employees
End-user security training is essential for every company member, from the CEO to maintenance, facilities, and lab workers, and everyone in between. No matter what professional or educational background your employees come from, any end user may end up clicking the wrong thing by mistake and causing a security breach.
Some people are naturally curious and may think there are fail-safes to protect them if they open something malicious. Unfortunately, the majority of successful cyberattacks are initially caused by human behavior, not by viruses or malware. Antivirus and antimalware software cannot stop an employee from mistakenly clicking a link, wiring money, or sharing private information.
Other people may be moving too fast to stop, think, and question whether they are experiencing a genuine request or a cyber attack. Cyber attacks can come from anywhere, and they can target anyone. Even if you think your team knows better, you should not wait for a mistake to happen before you take steps to protect your data and infrastructure.
Include end-user security training in new employee onboarding
Given how quickly the biotech and life science sector moves, waiting to respond to a breach instead of preventing threats can have dire consequences.
You may not want to take the time to implement end-user security training since you are building for speed and have many people to think about. In addition, newly launched companies may not have a company handbook while hiring the initial team. However, consider at least starting with the basics as soon as possible – and not just outdated boilerplate policies, either.
Even something as simple as a one-page document or a scheduled 15-minute session with your IT team for new employees can make a difference. As your company grows, we recommend adding cyber training and discussion to a more structured onboarding process. Get in the habit of instilling good training, computer user hygiene, and taking security seriously from day one.
Continue end-user security training throughout employment
Your work generates raw data, processed data, presentations, emails, and financial transactions. This adds up to a wealth of information and assets that must not be compromised. Unfortunately, cybercriminals can get their hands on your intellectual property in endless ways, including:
- Compromised passwords. Email passwords are especially dangerous when compromised because our emails are often used as file repositories or to communicate sensitive information.
- Financial fraud. Cybercriminals occasionally make requests for wire transfers that may look legitimate if you do not take time to verify the request in other ways. Financial fraud both hurts your company and looks bad to your investors.
- Ransomware. Losing access to data or private information, especially work that you have not been able to patent yet, can result in your intellectual property being held for ransom.
- Web browsers and links. Most people trust search engines to deliver safe, legitimate links. Unfortunately, it can be easy to mimic a reputable website, and even highly-regarded sites can become compromised. Be cautious at all times and think before you click links.
So much is housed online that can be leveraged to compromise your organization. To combat this, see if your IT service provider offers ongoing education and testing options to help you implement conditioning and end-user security training without disrupting workflows.
Data Evolution can help you set up a system that uses simulated phishing campaigns to “test” your employees. These campaigns can run as frequently as you want, look legitimate, and have various levels of sophistication to identify opportunities for re-educating your team as needed.
Implement these programs early so they can help build a culture of cyber awareness and protect your company. These programs can identify “click-happy” users – not to make anyone feel bad, but rather to develop and reinforce habits to help you recognize phishing attempts. Educating, protecting, and preventing threats is beneficial for work and personal computer use: a win-win scenario for your company and employees.
Develop offboarding policies and procedures to support end-user security
Part of end-user security relies on your employees fulfilling their duties and striving to protect you, their employer, along with their own jobs. When it comes to offboarding, it is crucial to have the appropriate policies and procedures in place to support your ongoing end-user security efforts after an employee leaves your company.
Offboarding policies and procedures can include notifying your IT team, shutting off access to resources, systems, and data, retrieving passwords or files, and much more. It is necessary to have these policies in place before an employee leaves the company because you do not always have prior notice. If an employee quits or needs to be let go unexpectedly, the last thing you want is to be left scrambling to protect your data and potentially miss something important.
Effective end-user security training should be a part of your security program to slow and prevent infiltrations and threats. Training your employees to be more mindful can prevent downtime, data loss, financial ramifications, and other potential havoc.
Data security threats are rampant in biotech companies, so do not wait for something to go wrong before implementing end-user security training. Get in touch with the experienced Data Evolution team to prevent data breaches from happening in the first place.
Want to learn more? Check out our blog about 5 key cybersecurity musts for life science companies.