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Online Safety and Security and Your Staff's Wellbeing


How seriously does your organisation think about cyber security and the impact it has on its staff? Time and time again, we see organisations purchase basic cyber security training which is simply treated as a tick box exercise. Yes, it perhaps covers the standard content of what ‘phishing’ is or what ‘malware’ stands for but in our joint experience of working in the mental health and cyber security field which collectively amounts to over 17 years it is very rarely, if at all, that we come across training that addresses the human factor or recognises the detrimental impact that online threats can have on the well-being of your staff.

However, the importance of online security and staff’s well-being can no longer be understated. The impact of COVID-19 saw organisational and individual remote working with the use of online platforms accelerate overnight.

With this new culture of working has come the need for change in maintaining the security and integrity of data and systems.

Instead of accessing an organisation’s data and systems through secure office spaces, staff are now conducting the same work from their individual homes. A greater emphasis has now been placed on staff with the responsibility for replicating workplace security measures in their home.

With this uptake in the working from home environment, consideration must be given to staff understanding the difference between public and private spaces. This may require homes being considered more as external vendors, requiring I.T. support and security measures to allow them to manage data appropriately, securely and in line with regulations.

As organisations and staff adjust to address these changes cyber criminals have rushed to exploit these new found opportunities.

The threats posed to organisations with this newly distributed workforce, has resulted in the increase of phrases such as ‘humans being the greatest risk to cyber security’. The threat landscape has evolved from a single office to potentially thousands of households, on networks and devices not fit nor secure enough for this new purpose.

Security, policy, and processes must change to accommodate this new landscape. But more importantly so will the support and investment in people to allow them to take ownership and responsibility for their own and their organisational ‘off-site’ online safety and security.

The impact and rapid spread of COVID-19 demanded prompt reaction. Had we had more time, we would brainstorm, plan and with an understanding of these new risks find ways to provide the appropriate resources and thus manage the change more safely.

When we talk about the risk that the rapid change in technology poses when it comes to cyber security, as previously stated the human element is almost never considered. However, these changes can have a huge impact on the stress levels and mental well-being of individuals, posing a much bigger risk to the cyber security of an organisation than the technological systems in place.

COVID-19 has forced us to progress rapidly into the digital world. We have had to contend with learning and adapting to new ways of working in the virtual environment. People may have genuine concerns with the consequences of not being able to keep up with the rapidly changing landscape. This can be overwhelming and is enough to trigger a stress reaction creating a fight, flight or freeze mode.

Significantly, an individual may not be adequately equipped to identify and prevent a cyber security threat, especially so if having resisted, or not supported sufficiently to learn the required new skills in the first place.

A common symptom is resistance to the changes demanded or avoid learning what is required to work in the new remote landscape. Some may get flustered when trying to keep up with the essential technological change. Some individuals may demonstrate behaviour which is out of character for them, displaying anger or poor tolerance towards the leaders who are pushing for change.

These behaviours are all ways to help us reduce our stress levels and minimise uncomfortable feelings. Overwhelming levels of stress can shut off the part of the brain responsible for rational thought and decision making with the consequence that having these responses can make us more open to cyber security risks. Meaning we are more likely to make mistakes, leaving us vulnerable to a cyber security attack.

To address these growing concerns caused by the rapid change in technology, Decode Cyber Solutions and Blue Kite International Training have combined their expertise and partnered up create an E-Learning course entitled ‘Online Safety and Security and Your Staff's Wellbeing’.

If you want to be an organisation that does not just tick boxes but rather an organisation that values their staff as well as the integrity and safety of their business, signing your management staff up for this training course will prove to be a highly valuable asset to the future of your organisation.

Just visit https://www.bluekiteinternational.com/courses/online-safety for more information.

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