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What Should Leaders Know About Cyber Security and Safe Surfing?

If you have a business device connected to the internet, you’ll need to seriously consider your cyber security processes. If not, you’re putting your business at risk.

Thankfully, you can avoid any threats by knowing the cyber essentials. In this blog, we guide you through everything to know – from how cyber security is vital to businesses, to ensuring staff are aware of internet safety practices.

What is cyber security?

Cyber security is the act of protecting computers or devices from damage or theft to their software, hardware or electronic data. It also guards against the disruption of services. It’s important that businesses have at least the very basic cyber essentials in place. This will help any organisation reduce the likelihood of an attack, no matter their size.

The National Cyber Security Centre provides guidance on this. It includes securing your internet connection, device and software, and effectively controlling data access. There’s even a Cyber Essential Certificate available, which not only helps provide visibility of your entire organisation’s cyber security but assures customers too.

Another cyber security principle is considering the potential circumstances where your business could be threatened. For example, maybe all devices have the same password. Instead of leaving the situation be, put an effective password policy in place. Two-factor authentication is another great cyber security technique.

Why cyber security is important?

Without cyber security processes in place, your business is at risk. Unless your data is backed up, one of the most common threats is losing it. This will result in business downtime as well as the associated costs in getting it back up and running. You’ll also lose productivity time, due to having to manage the situation.

Theft counts as a data breach. Customers may lose trust in you, leading to a negative reputation in the market. Some may choose to cease working with you, and new clients may potentially be deterred.

On top of this, you could be fined. The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) legislation that came into place in 2018 is cracking down on data breaches. If you’ve not taken the necessary steps to avoid one, then there is a chance of a substantial penalty – potentially 4% of global annual turnover, or €20 million (whichever is higher).

How cyber security affects businesses

Countering the effects of a cyberattack isn’t the only way in which you’ll benefit from security. Cyber threats are increasingly becoming more sophisticated, and even those not especially skilled could threaten your business. If you have software in place that’s continuously updated, you’ll be able to meet these advanced threats with cutting-edge cyber security methods.

You’ll also benefit from maximised productivity. A cyberattack can lead to a standstill: it could be necessary to replace systems or devices. If a virus is installed on any computer, then their functionality may be significantly slowed down. And a cyberattack will be all the worse if you host your own website, and system infection results in it needing to go offline.

Once cyber security practices are implemented, you and your employees can use the internet without fear. Whilst even the top procedures can’t promise 100% protection, they will provide you with peace of mind.

Ensure safe surfing from all staff members

It’s also important to train staff in safe surfing, so they can use the internet without issue. In a work environment, cyberattacks often come in the form of phishing scams. Therefore, staff should be educated on what these typically contain.

Awareness around what constitutes a suspicious email will help. For instance, if they receive a message out of the ordinary, they shouldn’t click any links. Fraudsters often imitate legitimate URL addresses, particularly those of official bodies. There will be an almost unrecognisable difference.

Commonly, phishing emails request login or sensitive information, or urgently ask you to do something. There will be language used which if employees know about, will set alarm bells ringing. Often, they will claim your account has been compromised. It’s best to check with the official company by phoning them on a certified number.

If there is any sort of data breach, as a manager, you’ll need to be able to deal with it in the right manner. Knowing the core leadership and management capabilities can help handle situations like these. And these abilities can be provided by Leadership and Management apprenticeships, which Bright Direction Training offer.

Our apprenticeship qualifications, which are aligned with ILM qualifications, include all the modules to be a successful leader, including effective communication and decision making. To find out more information about what you could achieve with these qualifications, get in touch with our friendly team today. Call us on 01204 859 859, email us at, or fill out our contact form here.

What Is Effective Performance Management, and How Will It Benefit Your Business

Conduct an annual appraisal with every member of your team, and you’ve ticked off performance management for the year, right? Wrong. You need to do much more than this. And, when carried out correctly, it can provide a whole host of business benefits. So much so, it’s been adopted by the big-names, such as Microsoft and Adobe.

Here, we explore the topic in more detail…

What is performance management?

Firstly, let’s start with the performance management definition. Rather than being a once-a-year thing and focused solely on the employee, it’s continuous and works to the wider business objectives. Individual goals are still set, but to best improve performance, there are team ones too. These are specifically aligned to the organisation’s strategic aims.

The performance management process explicitly plans performance to reach goals, reviewing and assessing the progress made on an ongoing basis. It also develops the team’s knowledge and capabilities. As the process is constant, it has a revolving nature, creating a cycle for your business.

How the performance management cycle works

In this cycle, there are four stages: plan, review, act and track. The plan stage gives you the opportunity to set SMART goals and create a personal development plan, considering the organisation’s targets and values. During the review stage, achievements are assessed, learnings identified, goals discussed, and actions decided upon.

The ‘act’ part will be performing their role, putting into action the personal development plan, and achieving the targets set. The track phase is what it says on the tin – with progress also receiving continuous constructive feedback and any difficulties worked through with coaching. As it’s a cycle, no specific stage comes first.

learners in the classroom studying Performance management with Bright Direction Training

Effective performance management and the balanced scorecard

You may have also heard of performance management and the balanced scorecard. This scorecard is a strategic planning and management system that allows businesses to understand and communicate what they’re trying to achieve.

Employees are able to prioritise their work and align their tasks with the entire strategy. And, employers can monitor and measure progress towards targets. The balanced scorecard connects the bigger strategy to a business’ mission, vision, core values, strategic focus areas, operational objectives, measures, targets and initiatives.

What’s involved in a performance management system?

The cycle and balanced scorecard aren’t the only features of performance management. It can be applied not just to those already working for you, but also during the recruitment process. The interviewing stage is the ideal time to get to know each applicant’s strengths, weaknesses and abilities. This will prove valuable not just for working out who will perform best, but knowing how to boost their performance later on.

It’s also a good idea to integrate elements of performance management practices into their induction. A key part will be establishing standards, as well as recognition systems so that employees know their contributions are making a significant impact, and feel rewarded.

Can performance management add value to your business?

You might be wondering exactly how performance management will benefit your organisation. In reality, there are endless ways. Praise and recognition will likely boost employee motivation and self-esteem. You will also find that your employees become more engaged and less likely to leave the company.

Managers will be able to easily understand each individual’s strengths and weaknesses, as well as how they themselves can help. This will also create a level of fairness in the business’ HR system. If disciplinary action of any sort needs to be taken, then the correct steps will have been followed so employees won’t be able to refute claims.

taking a test in the Performance Management with Bright Direction Training course

How can performance management affect organisational culture?

Another key advantage of performance management is that it has a positive impact on business culture. The clear and effective communication required for successful performance allows employees to feel included and valued, creating a collaborative environment. In turn, this can lead to improved physical and mental health, as well as career growth and satisfaction. Ultimately how they work will improve, and this is precisely why performance management matters.

Whilst the benefits are fantastic, implementing the right processes for performance management may prove difficult if you’ve not had any training. Thankfully, at Bright Direction Training we provide Leadership and Management apprenticeships which will ensure you can roll out a system that boosts your business. Building relationships, communication and managing and leading people are just some of the units that will prove useful.

Plus, all of our apprenticeship qualifications are aligned with ILM qualifications. You can find out more information by calling us on 01204 859 859, emailing us at, or fill out our contact form here.

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