The Importance of Cybersecurity Awareness Training for your Employees

Sep 6, 2022 | Solutions

By Mary Grlic

Good employee training is one of the most important things for your business. With companies going more “digital,” cybersecurity training should be included in the mix. Cybersecurity awareness training is critical for every business that operates online. Your network and servers are things that need to be well protected. If your employees are aware of good cyber practices, your business will be safer and more efficient. Let’s discuss the importance of cybersecurity awareness training and why your business must have such a program.

What does Cybersecurity Mean?

Cybersecurity is the practice of protecting networks, data, and devices from unauthorized access or acquisition. In other words, it is simply a way to keep your network safe and secure. Protecting your cybersecurity is very important in today’s digital world. You likely use the internet and computers for a variety of things, like checking your email or ordering food online. Throughout the pandemic, businesses began going more and more online to enable hybrid or remote access. That unfortunately means an increase in cyber attacks – which means that cybersecurity is something that all employees must understand. 

Cyber Risks

If you don’t properly protect your cybersecurity, you and your employees could experience some major threats. It’s similar to what happens in the physical world. If you don’t keep your physical belongings safe by locking your home, for example, someone could easily rob you. The same thing can happen in what we call cyberspace. Hackers could easily attack outdated systems, old devices, or computers with weak passwords. Once these hackers get in, they could do anything with your data. They might hold it ransom, where they “lock” your data with encryption and make you pay a fee to get it back. This is known as ransomware. Hackers can also deploy types of malicious software (malware) on your computer, like viruses or computer worms. 

So what is the best way to protect your business from these sorts of risks? With the right safety measures from your managed IT service provider, your company will be well equipped to handle themselves against cyber threats. One of the best ways to keep your business safe however is cybersecurity awareness training. This way, each employee can understand the best ways to avoid risks.

What is Cybersecurity Awareness Training?

Cybersecurity Awareness Training (sometimes known as “CAT”) is a way to educate employees about cybersecurity and make them aware of threats that their system faces. By understanding the risks and ways to mitigate cybersecurity risks, your business will be better off. Cybersecurity awareness training is one of those things that is becoming a standard part of employee training. 

Why Your Employees Need Cybersecurity Awareness Training

Ultimately, every business should have cybersecurity training to increase security. Here are a few specific reasons why cybersecurity awareness training is essential for all businesses, no matter the size.

Prevent data breaches. 

Your organization probably has a lot of information hosted on devices or your server. There are login credentials, names, perhaps financial and medical information, if you have an accounting or healthcare business, for example. A data breach can be very costly for your organization. A data breach is a huge security violation in which hackers can steal, compromise, or even leak private information from your company, clients, or employees. That is a big risk for any organization, and with proper cybersecurity awareness training, your business can do its best to prevent a data breach. 

Prevent phishing attacks and create awareness about scam mail. 

Phishing is unfortunately a common occurrence for many businesses. Simply put, phishing mail will often look legitimate but is actually from a fraudulent sender. For example, a hacker may pretend to be your boss who is sending a link that you need to download. In reality, the hacker is not your boss, and is giving you a fake link that contains a virus. Now, your device has a virus, which can self-replicate and might impact your entire organization in the long run. There are ways to avoid phishing and scam mail, which is extremely important for every employee to understand.

Protect your business monetarily. 

As mentioned before, your company could experience a data breach without proper training. This may ruin your business’s reputation and harm you monetarily. The costs of a breach or unauthorized data acquisition can be expensive. Perhaps poor cyber training will cause a hacker to ransomware your business. The attacker might “lock” your data and force you to pay a ransom fee to retrieve it, which could be a high cost. Manufacturing and healthcare industries are at a huge risk for ransomware and have shown instances with some of the highest ransom fees. Even if you are not a healthcare provider or manufacturing firm, you are still at risk for ransomware, so always do your best to protect against ransom attacks

The rise in cyber crime. 

Cyber attacks are unfortunately becoming a big issue for many companies. And they are not going away anytime soon. SonicWall’s midyear updates in their 2022 Cyber Threat Report indicate the rising threat of malware and ransomware attacks. Since so many people have started working remotely throughout the pandemic, cyber attacks have become even more common. When you access a server using a VPN from home, good cybersecurity awareness training is especially important. You want to make sure that your business’s server remains secure.

Cyber attacks are getting even more intense. 

Hackers are gaining more intel and sophisticated methods to attack your system. Even though newer technologies do their best to protect you from such attacks, it is still something to be weary of. Your device is at an even greater risk if it does not have good antivirus protection software or if the operating system (and other applications) is outdated. 

Compliance. 

Some organizations follow compliance guidelines that emphasize employee training. The healthcare industry must follow HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act), for example. Medical employees, like doctors and dentists, should undertake cybersecurity training to remain compliant with HIPAA. Additionally, the National Institute of Standards and Technology has global compliance frameworks for businesses operating online. 

How to Train your Employees

If you’re a business owner, manager, or even an employee yourself, maybe you are wondering how to get properly trained in cybersecurity. There are many courses that employees might choose to take to learn about cybersecurity. This way, your employees could get a certificate indicating that they completed the class. Cybersecurity awareness training will often cover topics including secure communication, phishing, application security, data protection, and acceptable use policies. 

Tips for your Business

Make cybersecurity a priority for your business. 

Protecting your cybersecurity is just as important as protecting your physical office. Think about how safe you keep your office. When you leave, you turn on the alarm, turn off the lights, close the windows, and lock the door. Your employees (hopefully) understand that locking up is important to protect everything in your office. You have computers, desks, chairs, classified documents, and so much more – if anything is stolen, your company would be at a huge risk. It is the same for your virtual network. Employees must understand how important protecting your network is, so make cybersecurity awareness training a priority.

Understand social engineering attacks.

Your employees should learn about social engineering attacks as well, such as phishing and other email scams. Unfortunately, phishing is one of the easiest ways for hackers to access a system, especially when employees do not identify or understand the ramifications of these scams. At the same time, recognize that it is not the employee’s fault – these situations happen all the time and can be easy to miss. Educate employees to always be careful when opening messages. If they sense scam or are unsure about the sender’s identity, odds are they should not open the email. Confirm that it is a scam or contact your IT service provider if you sense something “phishy.” 

Have good login security

Create strong login credentials and use multi-factor authentication. Your employees should always make sure that their accounts are well-protected. Every business should enforce some sort of two-step authentication to make sure that unauthorized users are not accessing your work accounts. Learn more about login security to better protect your business.

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