Unless you’ve been hiding in a cave or trapped down a well you will have no doubt heard about the ever increasing success and severity of cyber attacks (especially from ransomware, data breaches, and denial of service) in recent months.
The direct and indirect costs of cyberattacks on organisations are moving into the tens of millions of dollars. Devastating for large enterprise size organisations, and a total showstopper for the smaller businesses (SMEs) out there. While the mainstream media is providing almost daily coverage of new attacks and breaches on large global brands, threat actors are often targeting the ‘low hanging fruit’, perceiving SMEs to be more vulnerable as they are less likely to invest heavily in extensive cyber security measures.
Against this backdrop, businesses are under pressure now, more than ever, to maintain their cyber defences to avoid irrecoverable system compromise, reputation damage and financial losses. Businesses are only as strong as their weakest link, so to have a cyber savvy aware workforce is critical!
1. Protecting Company Assets
When you improve security protocols and ensure your employees know and are compliant with them, you are less likely to suffer serious security breaches and major corruption of devices. As a result, you protect your company’s ability to operate, the computers that your company operates on, and the information that your company survives on. With employees increasingly ‘Working From Anywhere’ (WFA), responsibility increasingly lies with them to protect those devices and the information contained on them.
2. Saving Money
The damages that follow a cyber-related incident can be expensive and detrimental for business. The following are some of the potential repercussions should your customers fall victim to a cyber-attack:
Loss of revenue
Loss of clients
Intellectual property (IP) cyber theft
Theft of sensitive personal data
Compromised client data, sensitive business information and equipment
The benefits of investing in security awareness training greatly outweigh the cost of a leak or breach. Plus, by training employees in security awareness they can spot damage and breaches sooner, allowing your customers to minimize any damage and address it more quickly, reducing the costs of such an event. Furthermore, by providing your customers with training as a service, it further reduces their costs for developing in-house training content and recruiting security awareness training experts to run a program.
3. Bolstering Employee Confidence and Reducing Stress
Employees will appreciate what their company teaches them, as it will not only help them in their work, but it will also help them protect their personal data and finances whilst having the knowledge and confidence to build security awareness amongst their families and friends. Nothing will affect employee morale and productivity more than a personal cyber attack or falling victim to identity theft resulting in huge financial loss, all of which could have been avoided with some basic employee awareness training
4. Protecting Customers
Your customers have customers, and nothing sends them running to the nearest competitor like having all their credit card data or personal information exposed in a high profile data breach! Customers will feel more confident working with a business when they know that the employees are trained to avoid security breaches. They will also likely face fewer incidents of breaches in customer information, and therefore, fewer lawsuits, lost customers, and other issues.
5. Developing a Security-Focused Culture
Effective awareness training is essential to developing an embedded culture of behaviour in any organisation. Regular training instills better habits. When something becomes a habit, people will continue to follow it like it’s second nature – “this is just how we do things around here”. Reinforcing the training with other communications like posters or emails is another way to ensure your culture stays security focused. A strong culture drives behaviour change, which in the security context is a game changer.
6. Empowering Employees
Don’t expect employees to adopt security practices on their own by reading company policy. They are informed and understand risks once they’ve been through training which leads to increased adoption. When employees feel confident about following security protocols and responsibly managing data, the less likely they are to cause an incident. Human error is after all the leading cause of breaches and attacks. Put the onus back on the employee by giving him/her the knowledge to reduce the chance of human error and respond better to potential attacks.
7. Being Proactive
Security programs should be proactive and preventive in nature rather than reactive. If you are reacting something’s already occurred. By looking at security threats as something to prevent rather than recover from, there is a shift in perspective. Security awareness training supports this perspective. Employees will learn about specific risks and how to identify and avoid them before any damage is ever done. Companies are falling prey to cyber attacks daily and the chances that such occurrences could be eliminated if one employee had known what to look for are high and workable.
8. Creating That Human Firewall and Keeping it ‘Updated’
With more awareness of security threats, employees become an invaluable source of insight for collecting risk data. Gaining better knowledge of what types of risk and suspicious behaviour employees are encountering on a regular basis will enhance your security strategy. Training facilitates this knowledge. For example, once an employee is aware of what a phishing email looks like, they are more likely to report it to the security team rather than just deleting it. Employee-reported phishing attempts and other social engineering schemes are critical data.
Security awareness training is designed to train on current real-life threats. This empowers employees with an up-to-date know-how on how to recognize and mitigate a cyber threat. By making employees able to identify and eliminate the most current threats, you are strengthening your customers’ most valuable security assets and reducing their exposure to viruses and hacks.
9. Getting Everyone in the Organisation Aligned
A critical element to any company’s security program is having security controls and policies in place which are customised for their business. Through security awareness training, employees are brought up to speed on an organisation’s IT security procedures, policies and best practices. Without official training, different departments or locations of a business may be employing different principles. Security should be cohesive across all employees. You don’t want a bunch of rogue groups using practices they believe to be best, or most efficient, for doing their work. In training sessions, there’s no more guesswork about what the security strategy is and how it needs to be implemented. Getting all parties on the same page is critical for reducing risk.
10. Staying Compliant
There are lots of regulations that businesses must adhere to. These aren’t optional. Training guides employees on how to stay compliant in relation to these laws so that your customers can continue operations and avoid hefty regulatory fines. To keep all those that handle sensitive information within compliance and the rules, they’ll need training to understand what their efforts must look like. Risking non-compliance could cost you significantly. Security awareness training is integral for a successful compliance program as the training of employees is now regarded as being fundamental when demonstrating ‘adequate’ security measures to protect data.
There is no doubt that offering security awareness training as a key part of your managed services portfolio is a good move for your organisation. Its benefits are plentiful, and they will help your customers reach their security goals.
Contact us today to find out more about how TTRO can help support creating a cyber savvy workforce!
Author: Lara Chaya