Today’s consumers are inundated with troubling cybersecurity news, on practically a daily basis. When word of the Capital One data breach broke, consumers again were left scrambling to figure out if their personal information was included in the 106 million exposed records. They are weary, to say the least.
So, how can financial institutions help restore their peace of mind? To find out, CSI polled more than 2,000 American consumers about the cybersecurity threats and challenges surrounding them and their financial institutions. The result? Consumers (unsurprisingly) want to know how to better protect themselves, and are quite open to their financial institution showing them how. Almost three-fourths (74 percent) said that they would likely participate in a cybersecurity awareness program if offered by their financial institution.
This insight presents institutions with a tremendous, inexpensive opportunity to increase their value and retain more members.
If You Host It, Members Will Come
Per our poll, consumers ages 18 to 44 are the most likely (75 percent) to attend an institution-sponsored cybersecurity education program, and interest from those age 45 and older is close behind (73 percent). So if your institution hosts a cybersecurity awareness program, people will come. By doing so, you create a win-win for consumers and your institution.
Here are just a few of the benefits:
- Bolster your institution’s reputation as an active corporate citizen
- Increase the potential for new business as you share your knowledge
- Create more cyber-aware members able to thwart malicious cyberactivity
- Reduce your own risk from cybercrime as a result
The Keys to a Successful Event
To really capitalize on this opportunity, you much be intentional and deliberate in your planning:
- Create a guest list: Of course you should include your existing members, but don’t stop there. Cement your status as a local hero by inviting the community at large.
- Save the date: The bad guys aren’t waiting, so don’t procrastinate. Host your event as soon as you can properly plan it. If possible, consider scheduling it in October, which is National Cybersecurity Awareness Month (NCSAM), “a collaborative effort between government and industry to raise awareness about the importance of cybersecurity and to ensure that all Americans have the resources they need to be safer and more secure online.”
- Don’t stop at one: Reach the broadest audience by hosting several sessions conveniently scheduled for various demographics, i.e., mornings for senior citizens and stay-at-home parents, evenings or weekends for working adults.
- Remember: location, location, location: Select a venue conducive to a group meeting and one that projects a professional and credible atmosphere. Also make sure the location is conveniently accessible and big enough to comfortably house your entire guest list.
- Pick a partner: Pairing up with your local chamber of commerce, an area civic organization or academic institution is a great way to reach the broader community.
- Give more than advice: Everyone loves free stuff. This is a great opportunity to hand out branded items like pens, mugs, etc. You could also give away a more valuable door prize.
- Bring in the experts: Technology can be a dry and complicated topic, so pick a speaker with the cybersecurity chops to inspire confidence and motivate them to heed the advice.
The Makings of a Useful Message
Beyond the logistical details, ensure you craft an informative message, including these topics:
- Practicing good cyber hygiene: CSO Online shares several basic cyber-hygiene tips that you can share:
- Use secure access points: Only connect devices through private Wi-Fi networks or use a virtual private network (VPN) to encrypt a public Wi-Fi network.
- Install updates: As soon as hardware and software updates are available, download them to protect against known vulnerabilities.
- Protect yourself: Always use strong, unique passwords and incorporate multi-factor authentication whenever it’s available.
- Practice safe emailing: Beware of opening links or attachments from unknown or suspicious persons.
- Use anti-malware protection: Explain that this isn’t just for computers and laptops anymore. Consumers need to think about mobile and other Internet-connected devices.
- Protecting Online Footprints: The NCSAM 2019 Toolkit is a great resource for anyone hosting a cybersecurity awareness program. It also suggests talking about these online safety tips:
- Personalize privacy settings
- Post safely to social media
- Understand the Internet of Things (IoT)
- Protect from social engineering
- Stay safe with e-commerce
- Responding to a data breach: Explain the key actions consumers should do after a data breach, including finding out what information was stolen and if their personal data was included, as well as putting fraud alerts on affected debit and credit cards and credit reports.
- Dealing with identity theft: It also is important to discuss what consumers should do if their identities are stolen.
- Institutional defenses: Finally, take the opportunity to discuss how your institution protects itself and its members and their personal data from cyber intrusion.
More Helpful Insight from CSI’s Consumer Cybersecurity Poll
Consumer receptivity to cybersecurity education programs is just one of the takeaways from our survey. Download CSI’s 2019 Consumer Cybersecurity Poll Executive Report to gain valuable insight about consumers’ thoughts surrounding cybersecurity.