They say that knowledge is the first step to prevention – and this couldn’t be truer when it comes to the IT practices in your business. But for the average company, simply offering available guidelines or providing initial training isn’t enough to keep your employees aware of all the practices they should be following. Continual, active awareness is what is needed to support businesses in maintaining the right habits and processes in the long-term. Here are 5 reasons why consistent IT awareness is an important thing to consider for your business:
IT is easily forgotten
Unless IT management or data control is a crucial part of job responsibilities, you’ll find that many employees forget what’s required of them over time. Practice is a large part of lodging processes and behaviours into the brain, so if something isn’t done regularly, it’s easy for things to fall through the cracks. Many employees will be used to using devices and technology at home daily, which is more than likely the way they will treat devices in your office. For businesses with strict requirements for data security, or even those that are simply conscientious about ensuring IT security is tight, reiterating what is required of employees through constant awareness is the best way to ensure these practices are upheld in the long-term.
If you start from the standpoint that most employees won’t retain knowledge about things that aren’t strictly relevant to them, you’re in an excellent place to begin. Assume that your employees will forget about the rules and requirements for IT in the office, and implement more reminders and in-house campaigns to ensure this knowledge is fresh in their minds. From there, it’s far easier to maintain high IT security in the long-term.
Bad habits can stick
Whether it’s a direction from a past manager that doesn’t fall into line with your IT standards, or employees that have carried over habits from old companies, these bad habits are often the thing that sticks. Whether it’s more comfortable, more efficient or more practical to them to do things a certain way, it needs to be made clear that certain behaviours are unacceptable before they spread to other employees. Providing frequent recaps of your internal processes and spreading awareness on the risks of going outside of these rules, can ensure that bad habits are soon set aside for better operations.
Of course, for some employees, additional intervention may be needed to get rid of those bad habits. But for many members of staff, simply having a reference point for the status quo can ensure they pick up those good habits and drop the bad ones. Whether it’s saving sensitive files to the desktop, opening suspicious emails or even visiting unsafe platforms on-site.
Provide readily available information that can be referred to
One of the most significant reasons that standards slip in business is simply because the last time your employees saw those important rules was far too long ago. By making information readily available, whether it’s a detailed guidebook or easy-to-follow infographic, employees will be able to make informed choices about what they do in specific situations – instead of relying on notoriously unreliable memories to make individual decisions. Providing a reference point through IT awareness can ensure employees follow guidelines and meet the standards of your business because those standards are readily available for them to use.
Whether you email weekly reminders of IT requirements, provide something to place in their workspace or create posters throughout your office, improving awareness can be the key thing that keeps your business safe. Employees are far more likely to refer to something they can easily find and follow, so keep that in mind when implementing IT awareness campaigns. With something to refer to, it’s far easier to follow the rules to the letter – rather than them getting confused or changed in your own mind.
Promptly manage problems through improved awareness
IT awareness doesn’t just support employees directly – it also helps staff members to help one another, especially when it comes to IT-related problems and issues. Good understanding of IT support processes and requirements can ensure issues are fixed promptly and in line with business requirements. Not to mention, concerns will be more easily identified by employees. By raising awareness and improving understanding, managing problems with IT systems or even user error is far easier than with staff that have little idea of how systems function.
You certainly can’t expect the average employee to become experts at server management or tech-related issues. But when it comes to identifying viruses, acknowledging user error or breaching security requirements, knowledge is power. With that added insight, problems can be resolved quickly and effectively. Awareness can ensure employees know what to look out for, and how to act should issues occur.
Ensure even long-term employees are up-to-date
While new employees will get full and concise training on IT systems, issues to watch out for and how to maintain security on all devices, long-term employees often don’t receive this same level of support and insight. This means that the longer a person is with a company, the more outdated their insight into IT security may be. By providing consistent awareness, employees that have been with your companies five, ten or twenty years will understand present-day risks and concerns related to their computer use.
Whether this is providing training on watching out for phishing emails and viruses or simply offering a weekly or monthly IT newsletter. Providing consistent awareness can ensure that all of your employees are knowledgeable on the best way to keep themselves, and the company, safe from external attacks and other data security issues.
Are you looking for proactive IT support to make your business safer? If you want a reliable team to improve security for your business, working with Cara alongside implementing the above practices can offer you the best chance for success. Contact us today to find out more about how our services could help you or visit our IT Support page for ideas on where we can become a partner to your business.