For many companies, the line is unclear whose responsibility it is to educate customers about cybersecurity. When it comes to the cycle of fighting cybercrimes, it’s always the consumer who’s the weakest link. They represent the most number of variables that weaken any cybersecurity efforts.
It’s hard to underscore the importance of cybersecurity in any business. Educating customers is hard, more so with the value of something that they think is “not their job”.
Here are 6 of the most effective ways to educate customers about cybersecurity and how you can make it easier for them to remember.
1. Start Talking With Your Customers
This might sound like a miraculous move but the simplest way to start your customers’ cybersecurity education is to talk to them. Depending on the number of people you’ll educate, it’s best to bring customers to a type of lunch and learn seminar. If you’re in an enterprise environment, a quick lunch-out seminar should only take around 30-minute to an hour tops.
For this, you can do it as an in-person or virtual event. Talking to your customers straight up has many benefits and it doesn’t stop at a cybersecurity perspective. As you help your customers learn more about cyberattacks, you also show them that you care about your relationship with them. You bridge the gap between both your teams, creating a tighter bond.
This also gives you an excuse to demonstrate any products and services that you might have with you. It’s a way to show off your skills and why it’s the right decision to work with your organization.
2. Leverage Email Marketing and Social Media Channels
Whether you perform cybersecurity services for individuals or enterprise clients, you need to remember that some of the most important discussions happen online. Many end-users will likely have a PC or a mobile device, as well as access to common marketing touchpoints like email and social media.
It’s useful for any serious cybersecurity business to leverage email and social media as they are usual audience channels. As you teach customers how to solve their security problems, it becomes easier for people to trust your efforts. Content marketing channels are consumed by almost anyone and everyone too, so sharing would be easy.
Use your company newsletters to send clients to your content channels like blogs, videos, and social media. Use real stories to create a deeper connection with your customers too. Break down the education into simpler topics to help end-users digest the content much easier.
3. Lay Out Test Traps for Customers
One of the most common techniques to help root out potential educational opportunities is to create test traps for your customers. Hacks, phishing, and identity theft are always someone else’s problems until they experience them. Test traps are powerful methods that remind people that they’re doing something wrong.
Depending on the type of customers you have, one of the most useful techniques you can do is threat testing. Through threat testing, you work with your customers and send them test traps that are hard to differentiate from the real thing. Once you catch a click or security violation, you then reveal the ruse to customers.
In many situations, threat deception will catch users off-guard and send data analytics to your side. Depending on how you do it, you can then prompt an automated response that will lead to educational opportunities. Fake phishing emails can be useful as they allow you to find out who needs further education.
Within enterprise solutions, you can even work with the company’s IT to add test traps within the company email, as well as documents. By identifying who is more likely to be a victim, you can teach them how to avoid them in the near future.
4. Send Them Email Newsletters
As we initially noted, email is one of the marketing channels that you would want to leverage for education. Email newsletters might be old news but they are still a powerful way to insert your business into a customer’s life. Phishing, malware, and cyberattacks can be boring topics to teach, so your newsletter needs to be smart.
Keep your email newsletter short, simple, and catchy. Try to break the details of your lessons into something that an ordinary user can understand. Move away from technical details, jargon, and information that the common person won’t care about. Focus on one topic at a time, rolling it into a series of emails that combine into bigger lessons.
Much like how you do it in social media, add engaging real-life stories. See if you can connect your lesson to trending topics and events across the internet. Use these events as an opportunity to break down what went wrong and what they can do with the information you teach.
5. Provide Step-By-Step Guides
In many situations, internal teams have a responsibility to educate their end-users in whatever way they can. If you work within an enterprise, another great way to educate your customers is to provide step-by-step processes for issues they experience. Depending on the issue, you can teach IT, teams, what to do, how to resolve issues, and how to educate their end-users.
If a problem, like a bug or a crash, comes from their side and not your solutions, you can help clients solve the problem. For businesses with customers affected, provide the technical solution in the background first, then let their in-house team perform the rollout. Once fixes roll out, have internal teams teach their customers/end-users what to do when similar situations happen.
6. Send Password-Protection Reminders
For customers, the minimum that they can do to protect themselves from malicious attacks is to change their password often. For those within your mailing list, it’s never a bad idea to do password change reminders for customers. Discuss the importance of password protection and what steps they can take to improve areas of their password strength.
Educate your customers on the value of password entropy, creating safe and easy-to-remember passwords, and more. Much like your other educational opportunities, you want to use basic, non-technical jargon to make your lessons palatable. Make sure to be careful of your wording too.
You want your message to be tactful, user-friendly, and sensitive rather than obnoxious and accusatory. Not all people are open to educational opportunities. More customers are not open to condescending reminders. Educate your customers about their passwords without making them roll their eyes out.
Cybersecurity is a finicky subject that not many people are willing to engage in. If you want to educate your customers about the topic, there are several ways to do it. The process boils down to simplicity and leveraging different educational opportunities for your clientele. Follow these steps and you’ll surely find a method that works for you.