Training is one of the most important parts of an employee’s tenure with an organisation. Usually implemented as a part of the onboarding process when someone is first hired, training gives the new employee the skills they need to settle in nicely to the new work environment. Training also ensures they produce the best possible results and provide the most value for the organisation. Almost every organisation will train employees on how to complete their work effectively, but many organisations gloss over, or completely fail to inform staff on how to complete their work securely, or engage in cybersecurity training.
An unfortunate number of organisations often leave cybersecurity efforts and responsibility to IT personnel. However, cybersecurity is the responsibility of every single person in the organisation. Personnel are one of the biggest areas of weaknesses when it comes to cybersecurity. Human error accounts for a large number of data breaches. The best firewalls cannot defend an uninformed workforce from cyber-attack. For these reasons, it is imperative that every employee be equipped with continuous cybersecurity training.
We have listed below some major benefits of cybersecurity awareness training:
Prevent Exploitation of Personnel
Cybersecurity training prepares and informs employees of the current threats that the organisation may face. Cyber attackers often exploit personnel to gain access to or infect internal systems with malware. With the knowledge that cybersecurity training can offer, employees can learn to detect suspicious activity and report it to prevent any unauthorised access, or prevent further damage if unauthorised access takes place.
Employees can use these skills to distinguish between legitimate and fake emails and websites. This is one of the primary attack vectors of ransomware, the prevalence of which has been surging in recent years.
Greater All-Round Security
Training allows employees to be informed about security best practices. The ability to detect malicious websites and emails, as well as ensure good password security, are good cybersecurity habits that will not only benefit their professional, but also their personal life.
An informed workforce puts a larger barrier between critical assets and the “opportunistic” attacker, who may just broadcast wide-spread malicious emails or links, to see who bites. While it is unlikely that an small-to-medium business (SMB) is specifically targeted unless great security weaknesses are detected, an informed workforce also greatly helps in the defence against targeted attacks. Attacks very often will target employees, in an attempt to exploit them personally.
While it may seem that cybersecurity training can be a sunk cost, as there is no apparent return-on-investment, if a breach occurs it could save millions of dollars, or even the business itself. Statistics show that an SMB that suffers from a security breach has a greatly increased risk of going out of business altogether, in a phenomenon coined “death by data”.
Proper security training can mean that less money needs to be spent on IT resources. As previously mentioned, not even the best IT security infrastructure can defend a workforce with poor security habits. IT teams can more effectively use their resources to work on new technologies that will provide value to the organisation in more areas than just security.
A cyber-attack can be devastating to a company’s credibility and the trust of their customers. A data breach alone can have astronomical costs, but the decline in business post-breach can also be a nail in the coffin. A survey of 2000 respondents showed that 86% of those asked would be hesitant to conduct business with an organisation that experienced a data breach, where payment information was leaked.
A potential customer may be more inclined to conduct business if they observe a demonstrated effort to ensure that sensitive information is handled properly by employees.
The benefits of good cybersecurity training vastly outweigh the negatives. It is, however, important that security training is continually and progressively conducted. The cybersecurity landscape changes so rapidly and so often that it is a good strategy to remind the workforce and refresh them on what threats they face and how to mitigate the risks.
Agilient specialises in providing industry-leading security training. Our cybersecurity experts will tailor training programs specifically suited to your organisation. If you’d like to learn more about how Agilient can help equip your workforce with the skills they need to work securely and safely, contact us today.
Author: Jack Schofield, Agilient Consultant