6 Reasons Cybersecurity Awareness Training is Important
With hackers attacking every 39 seconds, cybersecurity awareness training for employees is important if you want to stay away from data breaches.
We live in a world where all our day-to-day lives have gone digital. There might not be any single piece of our information that is not present on the internet today. With hackers attacking every 39 seconds, cybersecurity has become a major challenge for many organizations.
Cybersecurity plays an important role in securing data from data breaches. While practicing cybersecurity is essential, cybersecurity awareness training is equally important.
“43% of people had made mistakes at work that compromised cybersecurity”, states the psychology of Human Error report.
Organizations can implement cybersecurity best practices to cope with the effects of increasing cyber crimes. However, it's crucial that all employees at your organization are well aware of cybersecurity protocols and how to implement them at different levels.
What Is Security Awareness Training?
Cybersecurity awareness training consists of all the strategies and processes that can help employees identify their role in protecting the company’s sensitive information and data. It educates them about different threats associated with their actions and how they can put the company’s security at risk.
Not only do IT or security professionals need this training, but employees at all levels in an organization should be aware of cybersecurity best practices.
There are many examples where organizations faced data theft due to the negligence of employees. According to a report by Verizon, “82% of data breaches involved the human element”.
We can’t deny the fact that human error or irresponsibility towards cybersecurity can lead to severe cybercrimes. Therefore, every organization, whether small or large, must ensure security awareness training for all employees at different levels.
Why Is Cybersecurity Awareness Training Important For Employees?
Security awareness training helps assess employees' behavior towards cybersecurity and what mistakes they might be making while using emails, the web, and physical networks. One of the obvious reasons for cybersecurity awareness training for employees is to prevent data breaches in the organization.
There are many other reasons to ensure security awareness training among employees, which includes building trust among customers, improving brand reputation, financial benefits, employee productivity, and much more.
1. Threat Reduction
As discussed above, most data breaches occur due to human negligence. Either employees who have full-time jobs are not well aware of cybersecurity best practices, or they don’t know how their irresponsible actions can lead to serious cyber threats.
However, a cybersecurity awareness training program can play a vital part in reducing the potential risks. With the increase in the number of cybercriminals, it has become very crucial that every employee must be aware and mindful of their actions toward information security.
2. Build Customer Trust
In this digital world, consumers are well aware of cybersecurity risks and attacks. They would definitely not trust a brand that is more open to security breaches every now and then. Moreover, they are likely to turn away from such organizations that don’t prioritize customers' privacy and security. According to a survey,
“31% of consumers said they discontinued their relationships with the breached entity following a data breach, while 65% said they lost trust in the organization after being affected by one or more breaches”.
On the contrary, customers trust a brand if it takes appropriate security measures to reduce cyber threats. If an organization becomes successful in significantly reducing threats, this can lead to customer trust in them.
3. Saves Time & Money
According to the latest data breach report by IBM and the Ponemon Institute, “the cost of a data breach in 2021 was US$ 4.24 million”.
While data breaches can cost millions of dollars to organizations, timely investing in cybersecurity awareness training programs can reduce the cost significantly. Awareness of potential risks and how well-aware employees can reduce them aids in reducing the time and money spent in tackling a data breach.
4. For Compliance
When organizations don’t meet certain requirements issued by the regulators, this might lead to a severe data breach which, in turn, can result in heavy fines. Security awareness training ensures compliance with these regulations.
5. Build a Security Culture
Security awareness training aids in healthy security culture in any organization. Healthy security culture means that employees are well-aware of potential risks, and they are playing their part in protecting the organization against data theft.
6. For Employees’ Well-Being
While security awareness training is essential for an organization's well-being, it is equally important for employees’ well-being. Not only are well-aware employees happy, but this also directly affects their productivity.
Being mindful of their actions makes them build trust in themselves and the organization. Also, this ensures peace of mind among employees. Moreover, awareness training helps them secure their personal lives too.
Cybersecurity Awareness Training Costs
Cybersecurity awareness training is not as costly as it may seem. However, its cost totally depends on the quality of service and the number of employees in your organization. There are also some free cybersecurity awareness training programs.
While training may seem costly to many, they are inexpensive as compared to the ransomware cost that companies may face due to data breach. So it is better to invest in security awareness training programs so that you don’t have to suffer from data theft.
Let’s consider two awareness training tools. For example, security awareness training at CyberArrow costs yearly $40 per employee. Whereas Eset - another security awareness training platform, comprises a 90-minute online training course, and its pricing starts from $250 per 10 employees.
Cybersecurity Awareness Training Topics
While choosing cybersecurity awareness training, you must look into the topics that your training may cover. There are several topics that your security training must educate about. Only then your employees can become well-aware of cybersecurity best practices. Some of the topics are:
Phishing attacks remain one of those cyberattacks that can trick individuals into losing sensitive data via emails or suspicious links. Though many employees would say they can identify spam links, there is evidence that 83% of organizations faced email-based attacks in 2021, where employees fell prey to those attacks.
Consequently, this makes phishing attacks an important topic in cybersecurity awareness training. Educating employees about how they can identify phishing emails and how to stop becoming a victim of such attacks becomes vital.
Secure Remote Work
The pandemic caused the organization to shift to a work-from-home (WFH) environment. However, data breaches reached their highest point in the pandemic due to remote working.
While many organizations still encourage remote work as part of their new work environment and some individuals might continue to WFH, it is necessary to educate employees on some critical issues such as using a time tracking app, managing workload with project management software, and complying with the company regulations being necessary. Employees should also be equipped with security extensions and software to maximize their online security. This will ensure they can get the most out of remote work and secure themselves from cyber threats.
Public Wi-Fi is one the favorite places for hackers as your data becomes most vulnerable when you connect to one of them. Often working from home, employees have to travel, and they sometimes use public Wi-Fi.
They need to be educated that their personal information might be at risk when they connect to them. Also, some hackers trick individuals into using free public wifi and add sensitive information to vulnerable servers to perform data theft.
Password security is another hot topic in cybersecurity awareness training. Employees must be educated on the need of using strong and unrecognizable passwords. Often they use repetitive and common passwords that malicious actors can easily guess.
Implementing a trend of using unrecognizable and random passwords can make it difficult for threat actors to get into the system or network.
As payments have shifted to more advanced levels, such as online payments, etc., their security remains a major challenge for many organizations.
Many employees interact with daily online transactions. It is crucial to educate them on how important it is to secure your customer’s accounts and data. Especially it is crucial if your company uses data orchestration methodology and collects terabytes of sensitive information on one server.
Smartphones have evolved much over the years. Individuals can easily work and learn on the go. Whether they are at home or outside, mobile phones have made it easy to access their work and online learning.
However, all this flexibility comes with a cost, as mobile phones can lead to significant vulnerabilities if not secured properly. Consequently, this can result in data theft of companies’ or even employees’ sensitive information. It's important to educate employees on how they can protect their mobile devices and enhance mobile security.
It is equally important to inform employees about physical security as well as securing equipment and devices. Hackers can trick them into tailgating, impersonation, or shoulder surfing.
Therefore, employees must be educated so that physical security is not compromised. This includes not letting any visitor sneak into storage rooms, never leaving documents and devices unattended, etc.
Social Media Usage
We live in an era where social media has become an important part of our lives. We share anything and everything on our social media accounts. The availability of sensitive information on social media can make threat actors pretend to be reliable sources.
Employees should be well aware of the harmful effects of social media usage and be mindful of what information they share online regarding their company.
Benefits of Cybersecurity Awareness Training
There are many benefits of cybersecurity awareness training for employees. Some of them are:
· It drives awareness about cybercrimes among employees.
· Awareness training can reap financial benefits for organizations.
· It plays a vital role in reducing cyber-attacks.
· Lesser cyber-attacks build customer trust and enhance brand reputation.
Though cybersecurity awareness training is essential for employees, still many companies don’t find it mandatory. “55% of companies don't offer mandatory security awareness training”.
Organizations that don’t invest in security awareness training programs are at higher potential risk of cyberattacks. With increasing threats, they must ensure security awareness training for employees throughout the organization.
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