Last year was a record-breaking one in terms of the amount of data that was lost around the world in breaches and cyber-attacks. It also set a new record for the number of attacks. Cyber threats continue to evolve and become more sophisticated, making the need to be vigilant against them more important than ever. That is why cybersecurity awareness emails to employees are crucial.
A recent IBM report revealed that in 2020 the average cost to the business for a cyber attack was $3.86 million – and it took more than 200 days for breaches to be detected.
An IDG Research Services survey found that almost 80% of senior IT leaders felt that their companies do not have the sufficient protections needed against cyber attacks, even though they may have increased their investment into IT security during 2020 in response to employees working from home in the pandemic.
>> Read more about cyber security in the workplace <<
Why communication is critical in the fight against cyber crime
Cyber crime can happen to any business, large or small, across all sectors. One thing they do have in common, though, is that they are more than likely to occur because of human error – according to Cybint, some 95% of cybersecurity breaches have occurred this way. This means that your employees are one of the weakest links in the chain when it comes to the fight against cyber crime and keeping your company data secure.
Communication with employees is essential. Every single person in the organization has a role to play in cyber security. Establishing an ongoing dialogue around the importance of cyber security, including providing advice on what steps to take to be safe and how to detect a potential threat, is one of the most important things you can do.
This also includes providing education and advice, as well as quickly alerting employees when new threats emerge.
Different types of cybersecurity awareness emails to employees
One of the ways to help raise awareness is by sending regular cyber security awareness messages that are:
- Easy to understand (not everyone understands highly technical IT language!)
- Helps employees to identify and understand threats
- Clearly outlines expectations and responsibilities
- Provides reminders about security policies
- Tells the employee where to get help if they need it.
Your cybersecurity awareness emails to employees should have a consistent look, feel, and format to instantly know what type of advice is being given.
Preparing templates in advance can save you time later. You can distribute these emails as part of an ongoing awareness-raising campaign or issue them as a reminder when a potential threat is detected. To help you save time, you can download one of our security awareness email to employees samples.
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The most important security awareness email to employees templates you can have include:
1. Ransomware awareness email
Ransomware attacks have been increasing every year and can be devastating for organizations that find themselves targeted. Not only can it mean you are frozen out of your systems until you pay a “ransom” to restore them (costing loss of revenue and productivity), but fixing any damage can also be expensive. And there’s also the damage to corporate reputation and potential for lawsuits if customer data is compromised.
Make sure your employees know what to look for when it comes to ransomware – particularly not clicking on links or attachments from unknown recipients. (We have provided a ransomware awareness email sample.)
2. Phishing awareness email
Phishing emails are a common way that cyber criminals gain access to systems. The goal of a phishing email is to dupe the recipient into believing it has been sent by a legitimate source so that they will divulge sensitive data or information like passwords, user names, credit card or bank account details, and more.
Teach your employees to be vigilant and not enter any details into a website via a link sent to them from an unexpected source. (You can save time by using our phishing awareness email template.)
3. Whaling awareness email
Whaling takes phishing one step further – this is where a cyber criminal will email employees within a company pretending to be a company executive who has lost access to his/her email or bank account or needs an urgent credit card payment etc.
Help employees to understand that these types of requests should always be treated suspiciously. (We’ve created a whaling awareness email sample for you.)
4. Spam awareness email to employees
Junk email that gets past the spam filter can clog up inboxes and cause legitimate company email communications to get lost in the clutter. These are unsolicited emails usually written in a way designed to trick the employee into thinking it is worth reading but just wastes time… and potentially money if they decide to purchase whatever is being advertised.
A lot of malicious content can also arrive via spam – a general spam awareness email can help to cover this off. (Look at our spam specific security awareness email to employees sample for guidance.)
5. Password tips email
Passwords are ultimately one of the biggest risks to company data: when an employee sets a weak one or inadvertently gives the password to a third party, the system can be breached easily.
A password tips email is a great way to provide advice on the best practices around setting a strong password, as well as what to do to keep it safe. (Find above a sample of a password tips email for employees. We’ve created a password specific security awareness email to employees template.)
6. Email security training for employees
This general email can be sent to raise overall awareness of the different types of threats and risks posed by suspicious emails, including some of the threats mentioned above. It can also give tips on using spam filters, the importance of antivirus and firewalls, and even how these sorts of attacks are not just limited to email itself – scammers will call or SMS people as well!
Other ways to communicate cybersecurity awareness to employees
A security awareness email to employees isn’t the only way to communicate. As with any good internal communications strategy, you shouldn’t just rely on one delivery channel to send the information to employees. They are more likely to see, retain and recall messages if they have been exposed to them across different channels and formats.
An internal communications software system like DeskAlerts is a great way to coordinate a campaign like this. The system is designed to be highly visible and intrusive, and you can send important cyber security messages in a variety of formats, including:
- Pop up alerts
- Desktop tickers
- Corporate screensavers
- Corporate wallpapers
- Lock screen alerts
- Digital signage
Schedule your content in advance and send to the entire organization, or to specific groups of employees depending on your needs. You can also test your employees’ knowledge via the DeskAlerts polls, quizzes and surveys module, for example sending a ransomware quiz.
Any results will be in real time and you will be able to identify if there are gaps in your employees’ knowledge that could be a risk to the company.
Your employees are one of your most valuable assets – but they are also one of the biggest risks. If your employees aren’t properly trained in cybersecurity awareness, they could expose your business to criminals and cost you big time.