How Employee Training Boosts Business Security
Sadly, business and crime—digital, physical, or otherwise—are irrevocably connected. Burglary, theft, ransomware, vandalism, fraud, malware, robbery, phishing schemes, shoplifting, data breaches, social engineering, and on and on and on. It feels like you can’t have one without the other. And that’s why taking proactive security measures—including comprehensive employee training—is just as important as your product or service itself.
Are your employees prepared?
The Human Element
Every successful business owner knows the importance of security. They install security devices like cameras, lights, and alarms. They have a dedicated loss prevention and IT departments if they can afford it. And they understand the main physical security and cybersecurity threats that exist.
But if your security plan doesn’t include employee training, you’re still leaving yourself exposed. Your staff is your biggest vulnerability.
Whether by accident or design—employee theft is a bigger issue than external theft—the people working for you are a risk. Period. There’s no way around it.
But you can combat it with robust security training that includes cybersecurity, opening and closing checklists, shoplifting prevention, detailed security protocols, and how to use anti-theft devices.
Do they know what to do if they see a shoplifter? Do they know how to secure the premises at the end of the business day? Are they aware of best practices for protecting themselves—and your company’s digital assets and data—online?
They should. And it’s your responsibility to make sure they do.
Train Early, Train Often
As far as business security training goes, it can never be too early or too frequent. Comprehensive security training should be:
- Part of your onboarding for new employees
- Refreshed regularly for existing employees
- Provisional based on new procedures and devices
- Reinforced in response to a specific or emerging threat
Better over than under-prepared.
You could conduct this employee training yourself. Or, if you don’t have the time or know-how, contract a third party that specializes in it. Companies like KnowBe4, Proofpoint, and CybSafe are great resources in the cybersecurity sphere. SBS is one option for physical training programs.
The specific training required will vary, of course. You wouldn’t include guidelines for work devices if your business doesn’t issue them or how to spot a shoplifter if you work in an office. But some things are universal.
Staff Security Training: What To Include
First, it’s imperative that you a) get your detailed security plan and procedures documented and available to everyone, and b) make following them a top priority. The best security plan in the world is worthless if only some of your employees are following it.
The two major components of security training are cybersecurity and physical security.
The internet and mobile devices have made our lives infinitely easier and more convenient. But they come with increased risk and exposure. Anything done online—communication, financial transactions, confidential data storage, etc.—is at risk of a hack, breach, leak, or error. And you need employee’s help containing these risks.
Employee cybersecurity training should include topics like:
- Password management
- Mobile device security
- Cloud security
- Data protection and compliance
- Phishing awareness
- Threat intelligence
- Social engineering
Even being aware of the common tricks and tactics can reduce the likelihood of falling victim by a considerable amount.
Password management alone can reduce breaches and leaks. Weak passwords and passwords used on more than one platform are common culprits. If you do nothing else, instruct your employees to use unique, randomly generated passwords with a combination of uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers, and symbols. They should be at least 10 characters long. Trusted password managers like Dashlane, BitWarden, and 1Password can safely generate and store them.
Next, activate 2FA—two-factor authentication—for any website, service, or device that allows it. 2FA strengthens logins by requiring an additional piece of information besides just the password. That second factor may be biometrics like a fingerprint or face scan, a temporary code sent via text message or a third-party app like Authy or the NordPass Authenticator, or a physical item like a USB key.
With strong passwords and 2FA, you’re better off than most.
Physical Security Training
Physical security protects your space. Train your employees in:
- All relevant security protocols for your business
- How to use and troubleshoot security devices like cameras, alarms, keypads, motion detectors, and anti-theft devices like RFID tags
- Physically protecting data or sensitive information (access tracking, limited access, need-to-know basis, shredding records)
- Incident response procedures
- Emergency evacuation routes and protocols
- General emergency preparedness tips like “stop, drop, and roll” and “run, hide, fight”
- Industry-specific security training (e.g. shoplifting prevention in retail or securing raw materials in construction)
At a minimum, each employee should receive step-by-step instructions on how to open for the day and close for the night. This includes arming and disarming security devices, changing settings, securing high-value items, and any other standard procedures for your business. Implement a checklist to help your staff out.
Teaching Options for Employee Training
Repeat, test, and update your employee security training as necessary. You have multiple options for format, including:
- Online training. It’s quick, affordable, and convenient. And it allows employees to complete the training at their own pace. As a bonus for you, it’s easy to add or update modules and distribute information to every employee.
- Classroom training. While more expensive and time-consuming, it allows for greater detail and real-time engagement.
- Visual aids. Posters, flowcharts, checklists, graphs, and other visual aids in strategic locations around the workplace are effective reminders for completing tasks correctly. For instance, you could hang a “Did you remember to arm the alarm?” poster on the back door.
- Real-world tests. Think of this as a practical pop quiz. The best way to check if someone is vigilant about phishing scams, for example, is to send them a phishing email. Those who fall for it need further training.
Business security training need not be tedious. Try using interactive learning methods like gamification and simulations. Incorporate real-world examples. Regularly test—with either advanced warning or in secret—the efficacy of systems, procedures, and employee compliance. And customize the training based on employee roles. There’s nothing worse than sitting through a meeting that has nothing to do with you.
Business Security With Deep Sentinel
Train your staff and partner with the best. Deep Sentinel’s business security solution combines security cameras, cutting-edge AI, and proactive monitoring with an intuitive and user-friendly dashboard and mobile app. Industry-leading live security monitoring gives your business superior protection without requiring onsite security personnel. Let Deep Sentinel handle the heavy lifting of keeping your business safe so your staff can focus on other things.
With the right resources, your employees can be powerful protectors on your behalf. Give them the right training and tools. And give them Deep Sentinel.