Those searching for a new job should brush up on their cybersecurity skills in order to get a leg up on the competition, a new study finds.
Research from the National Cyber Security Alliance and Symantec shows that more than half of all small- and medium-size business owners feel it is it is important for new hires to possess a strong proficiency in basic computer skills as it relates to the online safety and security of their business.
Specifically, the study revealed that nearly 60 percent of small- and medium-size businessessay knowing the proper use of email, social networks and engagement online is essential to the safety and security of their business, while more than 50 percent believe it is vital for new hires to understand the importance of protecting data and safeguarding intellectual property.
"Small businesses are expressing a strong need for employees with basic skills and knowledge about how to use technology safely, securely, ethically and productively," said Michael Kaiser, executive director of the National Cyber Security Alliance.
The research also found that nearly 60 percent of small- and medium-size business owners think it's essential for new employees to know Internet security practices like password protection measures, identifying safe websites, avoiding phishing and other scams.
"Given the role of small businesses in our economy, it's so important to integrate cybersecurity training into all education levels — from K-life," Kaiser said. "SMBs should also provide ongoing training to employees to be sure skills are reinforced and new skills are developed as the technology changes."
The National Cyber Security Alliance and Symantec offers all small- and medium-size businesses several tips to ensure that both current employees and new hires thoroughly understand ways to increase online safety and security, including:
- Enforce Strong Password Policies: Passwords with eight characters or more and use of a combination of letters, numbers and symbols (e.g., # $ % ! ?) will help protect data.
- Encrypt Confidential Information: Implement encryption technologies on desktops, laptops and removable media to protect confidential information from unauthorized access, providing strong security for intellectual property, customer and partner data.
- Use a Reliable Security Solution: Today's solutions do more than just prevent viruses and spam; they scan files regularly for unusual changes in file size, programs that match known malware, suspicious email attachments and other warning signs.
- Stay Up to Date: A security solution is only as good as the frequency with which it is updated. New viruses, worms, Trojan horses and other malware are born daily, and variations of them can slip by software that is not current.
The study was based on surveys of 1,015 businesses with less than 250 employees.