The best free Data Security Courses for your employees

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All businesses should have some form of data protection training in place. Data security courses are one of the ways employers help their staff protect business and customer data. These courses can however be costly, and take up a lot of your employee’s time. 

Luckily, there is a wide range of free courses online to help you grasp the basics quickly. Enrol your staff on these courses to help them learn about data security, or refresh their current knowledge.

Google Digital Garage – Improve your online business security

Google is the most well-known and used search engine in the world. Even coining the phrase ‘Google it’ for whenever we need the answer to a question. The search engine giant also has plenty of free resources to help businesses and staff.

The ‘Improve your online business security course’ is a free data security course that can be completed in just an hour. Covering the basics of protecting data, it has modules focusing on:

  • 2-step verification
  • security on business devices
  • using secure networks and online sites
  • email encryption
  • secure user experiences

Along with this, the short course also includes a section for employers themselves. Primarily for new business owners, they explain the importance of ‘how nurturing a strong security culture can benefit your business’. So, there’s something for everyone in Google’s free data security course.

Udemy – Standard Data Protection Staff Training

Online course site Udemy is well-known for its huge collection of online courses. Although many need to be paid for, the site does offer some courses for free. One of these is the Standard Data Protection Staff Training course, perfect for a quick understanding of data protection in just 30 minutes.

Sectioned into 1 – 2 minute videos, the course covers the whys and hows of data protection. Starting with an explanation of the importance of GDPR, it then goes on to cover how to protect devices from cyber-security threats, and what to do in the event of a breach. 

Unlike Google’s version, this free Udemy data security course does not provide a certificate of completion at the end. However, its easy navigation through the different segments means a staff member can skip areas they are already confident in.

NCSC – Staying Safe Online: Top Tips for Staff

This course from the National Cyber Security Centre focuses much more on the very basics of data security. Serving as a ‘place to start’ for staff, the course covers typical data scams such as phishing along with some best practices to keep data safe. 

Illustration of data security devices on right against dark blue background

NCSC – Staying Safe Online: Top Tips for Staff

Although the course may not be as in-depth as other options, it’s very accessible. With transcripts of each video and no login needed, the material can be accessed with just a simple internet connection. Along with this, the provided quizzes are based on example scenarios to help learners apply the course to a real situation.

For employers, this course is a must to help new staff become aware and comfortable with data protection.

Future Learn – Understanding the GDPR

In contrast to the other three courses, this data security course is described as especially useful for those handling personal data. Not only this, but the course is much longer, providing 12 hours of content to be completed over 4 weeks. 

Starting with the general principles of GDPR, the course then goes into much more detailed aspects. Topics such as data subject rights, enforcement, and more are covered to give staff a deeper knowledge of the subject. Although this course may seem too long for some employers, it is a great option for longer learning, building up over time.

Reviews from learners state the Future Learn course is easy to understand and helps make sense of the more complicated legal aspects of GDPR. The course is only available for 6 weeks once started, but can be purchased so the user can have access for the duration the course is on the site.

Which data security course is for you?

The course which is most effective for your staff will depend on what they need. If a quick refresher lesson on basic elements is needed, there’s little use to enrol them onto a long, time-consuming course. However, for beginners, longer courses may be useful so they can build up their confidence in the subject. 

Man sat at computer watching

Speaking to your staff is the best option before asking them to complete a course. Accessing what knowledge they already have and what areas they would like to improve on will allow you to decide the right resource for them.

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