For any field service business, the topic of safety is an important one. These are companies that deal with complex machinery or tools that have the potential to injure a technician. Fortunately, most people in the business understand the inherent risks and proceed accordingly. Still, they may be less aware of their responsibilities when working with internet-connected devices. Cyber safety measures involve following correct procedures for online data security, whether personal or company-based.

Field service is not, historically, an industry built of early tech adopters. While many people within the industry are accustomed to internet hazards in their personal lives, the notion of cyber safety at work is a relatively foreign concept. That’s why we’ve put together a breakdown on how to introduce your entire organization to cyber safety habits.

Why is cyber safety so critical?

Before diving into the tips on rolling out a cyber-safety plan, let’s talk about why it should be a priority.

Based on cost factors encompassing legal, regulatory, and technical activities, reports show that data breaches cost large enterprises an average of nearly $4 million per year.

First, your organization is likely accruing tons of sensitive customer information. Physical mail and email addresses, phone numbers, credit card details, and perhaps even social security numbers. Any lapse in your ability to guard that data can cost your company big bucks. Based on cost factors encompassing legal, regulatory, and technical activities, reports show that data breaches cost large enterprises an average of nearly $4 million per year.

While your company may not be on the same scale as other large enterprises, there is one aspect of data breaches that is universal: Customers are terrified of having their data stolen. In one survey of more than 10,000 customers, about 70% said they would stop doing business with a company if it experienced a data breach. It’s clear that field service businesses that aren’t emphasizing cyber safety among their staff are playing an extremely dangerous game. 

Tips for rolling out a cyber safety plan

The first step of getting a plan off the ground is to build a healthy company security culture. This foundation is crucial because it embeds in the employees that they each play a key role: Keeping the company and customers’ data safe. It should start at the top with leadership actively illustrating the importance of adhering to the plan’s measures.

As you start to develop the plan, don’t be afraid to bring in frontline employees for their involvement. No one will be better able to identify the type of hacking attempts or strange emails that employees encounter better than the employees themselves.

Related: Shifting to Remote Work? Here’s How to Create a Secure Infrastructure

Your plan should be comprehensive, with a specific focus on the areas your organization may be most vulnerable. For a lot of companies, that falls squarely on email. In fact, nearly 95% of malware (software like a virus that is intentionally designed to cause damage to a server or computer) is delivered via email. The risk of email-based attack drops if employees are only allowed to open email links and attachments from known sources. Include such a policy in your plan to improve cyber security in a low-cost, low-effort way.

Planning ahead

Be vigilant about communicating any new plans or changes to employees. More importantly, share news in ways that you think will resonate with them. If employees don’t take emails that seriously, hold a staff meeting instead. If your company works in shifts, have department heads conduct smaller sessions to communicate the details of the plan. Communicate benefits of the plan, and not just the dangers of unsafe cyber practices. If the plan includes antivirus software, make sure employees understand how to use it if necessary.

Related: Six Ways On-the-Job Training Can Benefit Your Company

You should also know that a cyber safety plan is not something that you can set and forget. It requires constant monitoring and revision. Fraudsters are continually developing new schemes, so you must ensure that your plan evolves in the same way.

By identifying your company’s vulnerabilities and charting a path that includes these tips, your employees will value the importance of cyber safety, and your customers’ data will be more secure because of it.

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