Older Adults and Cybersecurity: Helpful Tips on Teaching Older Employees

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As most businesses shift to network systems and cloud-enabled platforms, cybersecurity becomes one of their top priorities. However, not everyone can jump on board that easily. Older employees, for instance, can be adamantly opposed to these technological changes. But you shouldn’t hold this against them if you’re a manager or team leader.

Older adults may be resistant to technology, but they are not impossible to teach. After hiring companies that offer cybersecurity services to secure migration and other systems, focus on guiding your older employees to transition.

Don’t belittle their capacity

You don’t begin teaching older employees about cybersecurity by having a condescending mindset. They might be vulnerable, but you don’t have to single them out or leave them behind because of it.

Remember, the burden is on your company. Thus, teaching them involves counting them as just like any other vulnerable employee. Present them the same modules and subject them to the same stress tests.

Relate to their experiences

If it’s easier to teach them if you utilise systems they already know, then that’s all well and good. Liken cybersecurity threats to real-life hazards — if the burglar gets increasingly smarter, then how should they adapt?

It also helps to listen to their inhibitions. What do they find hard about it? What is the module missing out on for them? Identify pain points to better tailor your teaching strategies for them.

Don’t use technical jargons

Often, older employees’ resistance comes from the fact that industry-specific jargons make the system seem “un-learnable.” Thus, steer clear of technical terms and find their easier equivalents.

You can start small by finding simpler scenarios, such as phishing traps in social media or e-mail scams, then work your way towards more complex, business-specific contexts.

Man working on his laptop

Get executive endorsement

Cybersecurity involves everyone, including top executives and C-suite leaders. Want to help senior employees relate better? Invite these executives — who are more likely to be their contemporaries given their time in the company — to relay the importance of cybersecurity and how everyone from top to bottom needs to comply.

Highlight its personal value

Sometimes, what works best is to raise their personal stakes in the matter. Explain to them how cybersecurity is vital within and beyond work. When they engage in unprotected activities online, or if they share their computers at home with multiple family members, then they’re at the same level of risk of being compromised.

You can also highlight the fact that cybersecurity education is applicable anywhere, and that your business isn’t the only source of it.

Reward their receptiveness

If they’re becoming less and less resistant over time and slowly being receptive to the importance and protocols of cybersecurity, then make sure to compensate them for it. Make them a model for other employees to emulate, and encourage them to share cybersecurity tips and discoveries they found themselves. The same scheme should work for other amenable employees, too.

Learning cybersecurity is more than just compliance. For your employees, both young and old, it’s about being more attentive and concerned not only about confidential business information but about their private data, as well.

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