In the digital age, adopting a security-centric culture has become a necessity for every organization. Owing to the increasing reliance on remote work, ensuring good cyber hygiene is essential for keeping your business protected from cyber threats. A significant number of businesses face a shortage of personnel possessing the essential technical, incident response, and governance skills required for effective cybersecurity management.
As per Ipsos MORI, around 653,000, or 48% of businesses in the UK, experience a fundamental skills gap in the above-mentioned critical areas. Subsequently, the importance of employee training in your cybersecurity strategy cannot be overstated.
In this blog, we’ll delve deeper into creating and implementing effective cybersecurity awareness and training programs for your employees.
Cybersecurity Awareness Training Programs
Despite stringent security measures in place, you can find yourself vulnerable to cyber attacks, unless your employees are properly trained in identifying and mitigating risks. According to the 2023 report by Verizon, 74% of data breaches involved the human element in the past year. To prevent cybersecurity incidents, your training programs should include:
Email Security Training
Email continues to be a prominent avenue for cyberattacks, be it malicious links, phishing scams, or CEO frauds. Employees can be caught off guard by corrupt emails, making it crucial to stay vigilant against these various threats. An effective email security training should incorporate engaging content and predictive testing, ensuring simplicity and accuracy. It should also offer a module-based course that covers best practices for dealing with both external and internal emails. Crucially, the training should include specific modules on SPF, DKIM, and DMARC, further fortifying the understanding and implementation of these vital email security standards.
Internet Security Training
Cyber threats are becoming more sophisticated and harder to detect. In 2023, the worldwide average expense of a data breach rose to USD 4.45 million, marking a 15% increase over a three-year period. A hands-on training program on how to deal with potential threats and malicious websites, links, etc, is crucial to ensure that your organization is safe. The goal should be to have a cybersecurity strategy in place that is proactive, actively supported, and continuously evolving.
Information sharing within the workplace should not only be confined to the dispersal of relevant and proportional information but also empower employees to handle sensitive information appropriately and safeguard the organization’s data from malicious actors.
Social Engineering Training
Social engineering stands out as a frequently employed method in cyberattacks. By providing social engineering training, employees can develop the ability to identify and thwart potential threats.
Zero Trust Security Model
A zero-trust security model maintains strict access controls by default, where all users need to be authenticated and authorized before being granted access to the company’s digital assets and resources. This cybersecurity approach helps prevent any accidental or intentional incidents.
Spotting Suspicious Activities
Brute force hackers randomly attack large numbers of computers, with an attack taking place every 39 seconds. It is thus important to enhance your employees’ cybersecurity awareness by improving their ability to spot suspicious activities. Teach them to be vigilant for signs such as the sudden appearance of new apps or programs on their devices, strange pop-ups, a noticeable slowdown in device performance, the presence of new extensions or tabs in the browser, and instances where they lose control of the mouse or keyboard.
To reinforce this awareness, it is crucial to encourage your employees to promptly report any observed suspicious signs.
Multi-factor authentication acts as an additional layer of security in cases where credentials get compromised. It minimizes the possibility of unauthorized access, providing reliable assurance using a combination of passwords and a security token.
Implement Strict Policies and Protocols
The incorporation of cybersecurity as a collective responsibility of every employee should be ingrained in the organizational culture from day one. The primary focus in employee training should be instilling the understanding that each individual plays a crucial role in maintaining the security of business data. It is imperative for employees to adhere to protocols and guarantee the protection of the devices they use.
Image sourced from hourone.ai
Failure to do so may render them the vulnerable point in an otherwise secure network, potentially providing a backdoor for viruses or other malicious code to infiltrate the system. To mitigate this risk, ensure that employees have the necessary security software and tools on their machines and that they understand their functionalities, along with any actions required from their end.
The Potential Impact of Cybersecurity Incidents
Cybercrime is estimated to cost the world $10.5 trillion annually by the year 2025. Outline the repercussions of a cybersecurity incident within your company, highlighting consequences such as financial losses, potential fines, and the erosion of customer trust. Encourage good device ownership. Any instance of careless handling of the company’s assets or data, such as leaving a laptop on public transportation, accessing work documents over public Wi-Fi, or using a work device for personal emails, can compromise the security of the business.
Make Cybersecurity an Ongoing Conversation
Ensure ongoing cybersecurity training for employees using diverse methods. Utilize approaches like newsletter updates and announcements to keep them informed about current cybersecurity trends. Whenever there is a new malware or phishing scam, promptly reach out to your employees. Keep the security updates concise, straightforward, and visually appealing. Opt for colorful infographics instead of traditional lists of do’s and don’ts or statistical information to capture and maintain their attention.
In a recent survey, it was found that nearly all of the organizations, specifically 97%, indicated that they had implemented cybersecurity awareness training measures in the past year. The majority now employ a combination of phishing simulations and security awareness training to enhance their overall cybersecurity preparedness.
Around 19% of data breaches in 2023 involved internal actors who caused both intentional and unintentional harm through misuse and avoidable human errors. It is crucial to ensure that employees are properly trained in identifying and mitigating risks to enhance overall cybersecurity resilience. By fostering a mindset where every team member recognizes their role in safeguarding the company’s data, a security-conscious atmosphere can be cultivated throughout the organization.
Creating a culture of proactive reporting can significantly contribute to the overall security posture of your organization. By developing a sense of responsibility and quick response to potential threats, your employees become valuable contributors to the collective cybersecurity efforts within the workplace.