Could Your Employees and Business Benefit from Security Awareness Training?

Employees are the weakest link of your company’s cybersecurity, which means that ensuring they have the knowledge to defend themselves and your company against threats is a critical part of a healthy cybersecurity program. If your company needs to conform to the different government and industry regulations, you must provide security awareness training to meet regulatory requirements.

What Is Security Awareness Training?

Security awareness training is a formal process for training and educating your employees about cybersecurity. Its primary objective is to equip employees with essential competencies, new methods, and techniques that are necessary for facing possible security issues.

Security awareness training generally involves repetitive training and ongoing testing in the following areas of exploitation:

  • Phishing: a method of trying to steal personal information using deceptive websites and emails
  • Spam: a junk email or unsolicited bulk messages sent through email with commercial, malicious or fraudulent intent
  • Spear phishing: a type of phishing called spear phishing targets specific and well-researched victims
  • Malware: malicious software that damages or gains unauthorized access to a computer system
  • Ransomware: a type of malicious software designed to prevent victims from accessing their computer systems until a ransom (a sum of money) is paid
  • Social engineering: the use of deception to manipulate employees into divulging confidential or personal data that may be used for fraudulent purposes

Benefits of Security Awareness Training

Here are some of the benefits of equipping your employees with the skills and awareness to fight cyber threats and help protect your company from attacks:

  • Reduce human error.  A recent study revealed that 47 percent of senior execs and small business owners reported that human error, such as accidental loss of a document or device, is the main cause of their recent data security breaches. If you implement a program that educates your employees about common cyber attacks, such as phishing and malware, they’re much less likely to accidentally open files or click links.
  • Better security.  If everyone in your company is taking the same security measures, such as using strong passwords and flagging spam emails, a data breach is much less likely to transpire.
  • Helps meet regulatory requirements.  Security awareness training is almost universally required and essential to comply with various government and industry regulations. Noncompliance can open up your company to lawsuits and/or steep fines.
  • Save time and money.  Data breaches can be very expensive, and having a team that is prepared to prevent them is necessary to save your company from the damaging costs associated with them. Similar to the cost saved, you will also save time trying to fix the damage and recover.
  • Retain customer trust.  Data breaches can seriously damage your company’s credibility, which could put your company at risk of losing customers or partnerships with other businesses.
  • Improve company culture.  Well-informed employees create a better workplace culture. By making data security as a priority, your employees can help keep each other responsible for best practices and support each other when it comes to the safe use of technology. Fostering that kind of culture in your company helps you achieve higher employee satisfaction, higher retention, and more.

Important Security Topics to Cover with Your Employees

Any proper security awareness training should cover these elements:

  • Different types of cybersecurity threats: To help employees spot and prevent security breaches, you need to educate them about the different ways that cybersecurity threats can present themselves.
  • Bring-Your-Own-Device (BYOD) policy: Adopting and implementing a BYOD program is important, but you should educate your employees on the best practices when it comes to using their personal devices for work.
  • Internet, e-mail and social media policies: Your employees’ email and internet habits can leave your company vulnerable to malicious software, which targets your social accounts and business applications, steals confidential information, and possibly even money. Thus, it’s crucial to include policies and guidelines for using the internet, email, and social media when conducting a security awareness training.
  • Data protection: Your company may have policies on the protection of data, but don’t assume that all of your employees are aware of these policies or that they understand them. That’s why your company’s security awareness training should explain the regulatory and legal obligations of data protection. You should also provide regular refresher courses so that all employees are up to date on the policies around data protection.
  • Removable media: Your employees must also be educated about the dangers of unsolicited removable media and prohibited from using any stray media, such as a USB or an external hard drive, even if it’s on a secured system.

Empowering Your Employees with Security Awareness Training

Your employees need security awareness training to protect themselves and your company against cyberattacks. By making them aware of the different cybersecurity threats and what procedures to follow when a threat occurs, you’re strengthening the weakest link in your company’s cybersecurity chain.

If you would like to learn more about security awareness training for employees, contact one of our experts today.

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