Five tips for creating successful company-wide data security training

Creating a safe online environment for your business is a major concern for leaders today. With the amount of data breaches increasing steadily and consumer trust in data management declining, it’s no wonder that improving the security of IT systems is the number one priority for 55% of companies.

Employees can either be your greatest strength or your greatest weakness when it comes to data security. Unfortunately, one of the leading causes of data breaches is internal negligence due to poor training. However, when the staff is educated and instructed on the proper practices, the risk of cyberattacks or data leaks can be reduced by up to 70%.

If your business is ready to enact a company-wide data security training plan, here are some tips that can improve results and ensure you are properly prepared for anything that comes your way.

Make sure everyone understands the entire business process

Businesses in today’s world rely on vast collections of complex datasets. First and foremost, in order to make sure this valuable information stays secure, everyone must understand the processes and how their work fits into the big picture. Whether it's managing customer profiles, translating marketing data into the main CRM system, ect., there cannot be any gray areas.

Explaining to employees how pieces of the data puzzle fit together will make it much easier to implement security procedures and new systems. For example, one common BI cloud-based system that businesses rely on these days is Salesforce. However, 43% of teams report that they use less than half of its CRM features. This could result in poor data management and reduced returns. By using a proper Salesforce training system that explains how datasets can be used throughout the company, you can work to fill in the gaps and help your team to better understand the data lifecycle.

The need for data security education is huge among businesses. In order for information to be utilized properly, there must be a set system in place for its storage and organization. Be sure that your onboarding strategies cover all of the bases so everyone is on the same page.

Assess the needs of each department

Of course, each facet of your business has different needs and priorities, especially in terms of data collection and access. For instance, the accounting department will need higher security for sensitive financial information from clients while marketing teams will require consumer behavior data points to guide their strategies.


Rather than thinking of a data security system as a one-size-fits-all blanket, you must take each department’s needs into consideration and be sure that your approach covers their priorities. Talk to the heads of each department to determine how and where data security can best be implemented to accommodate their day-to-day.

Determine when and how training will be conducted

Introducing a company-wide security training program is by no means a small task. Every single organization is made up of people, and each person learns differently. Therefore, in order to be sure that everyone is on the same page, there must be some careful planning about the way that training will be conducted.

Make sure that your training courses cover the most important topics for the best results. Keep in mind, not all your employees are data security experts; try not to get too technical and keep it user-friendly. Stick to the main points and offer clear and easy solutions.

It’s interesting to note that businesses that hold a single training program every year have lower retention rates than ones that offer monthly refreshers. If possible, it may be within your best interests to offer regular classes throughout the year to make sure they are up to speed.


Develop a system to test the effectiveness of training

According to Dashlane’s report, 90% of businesses fall prey to attacks due to internal threats and mistakes made by employees. The most common culprits are phishing attempts, weak passwords, and accidently sharing private information. Therefore, part of your training must address these top issues, as well as the solutions to combat the most prevalent problems.

In addition to providing educational information, your training must have a system in place to check that everyone understands what they have learned. Since much of the information related to data security is highly technical, not every employee will get it the first time around. A short test at the end of training will show what your team learned on paper, but simulations and test runs will give you a better idea of how they will actually apply this knowledge in the real world.

There are a series of tests that you can run to check your employees’ security savviness. For example, you can send simulated phishing tests via email or even password enumeration tests to check the effectiveness of your employees’ security habits.

Stay up to date on all big data news and trends

The world of data security changes seemingly by the minute. Every day, there are new threats along with new technology to make systems safer and more secure.

In order to truly protect your company from cyberattacks, cyber security managers must stay sharp on any developments in this area. Make sure everyone stays informed about new data systems and technologies by keeping up with the latest industry news. Furthermore, encourage continued education or participation in cyber security seminars and meetings.


Thankfully, the issue of data security is not without solutions. Whether your business decides to instill stricter data governance for added security, or prefers a multi-cloud infrastructure for increased safety, the only way to ensure that these strategies perform effectively is to train your team properly and make sure they know the processes from A to Z.