With cyber attacks steadily on the rise – and increasing in sophistication – business leaders responsible for protecting their organization against threats are constantly evaluating technologies that can enhance security across the board. Firewalls, antivirus software, email security, and the like are examples of common managed security controls that exist within an organization’s IT ecosystem. While these technologies no doubt provide much-needed defense against cyber threats, there is one element that businesses often overlook – security awareness training. And with human error being a major contributing cause in 95% of all data breaches, the importance of security awareness training cannot be ignored.
Benefits of Security Awareness TrainingSecurity awareness training – also referred to as cyber awareness training – is the process of formally educating a workforce on the various cyber threats that exist, how to recognize them, and steps to take to keep themselves and their company safe. This is typically approached as a long-term strategy and part of a larger security program. The benefits of security awareness training are far-reaching, but this blog will highlight five key advantages.
Drive AwarenessAs human error plays such a significant role in cyber attacks today, adequately trained employees are key to effective security. A solid security awareness training program will drive cyber awareness and instill the knowledge and confidence in employees to recognize security threats when they’re presented and how to properly respond and escalate the issue. When security awareness training is offered on an ongoing basis as part of a larger training program, it reinforces the importance of user technology security education within organizations and builds a security-aware culture. The more your employees know, the better they can serve as a defense mechanism for your business and the more proactive you will be with your security measures.
Reduce ThreatsTo reduce risk that could potentially lead to data breaches and a slew of other cybersecurity threats, a security awareness program should be an important element of your security framework. With a security awareness program, employees will be mindful of information security best practices as they pertain to regularly consumed applications and technologies in the workplace, including social media, email, and websites. Security awareness training educates employees to understand common types of social engineering attacks like phishing and spear phishing. Security leaders can take this one step further by conducting phishing simulations. This is where deceptive emails that are indicative of malicious emails are sent to employees by the company’s security team. This tool can be used to gauge their awareness of attacks and how they respond when a phishing email is received, prompting further training for certain individuals if necessary.
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Prevent DowntimeShould a breach or other security incident occur, it can be costly and take time to repair and reinstate normal business operations. If your employees are familiar with cybersecurity principles and understand their role in keeping your business secure, there is far less likelihood that a cyber attack will take place and all critical business systems can remain online and functional.
Ensure ComplianceThe amount of regulations businesses must adhere to continues to increase. This is reflected in an IT compliance benchmark study conducted by Hyperproof where 83% of all respondents plan to evaluate/purchase new tools to streamline and automate their risk management and compliance processes in 2021. That same study also showed 61% of all respondents have experienced at least one security incident or compliance lapse in the last three years. If your business handles personal, sensitive, or classified information, regulatory compliance violations are not an option. If you mishandle records, it could have a detrimental impact on your business. One example is HIPAA compliance violations. The fine for this can range in cost anywhere from $100 to $50,000 per violation, not to mention the legal ramifications and reputational damage you are likely to endure. Adopting a security awareness training program will ensure your employees are familiar with compliance policies and understand how to handle sensitive data and information, adding another layer of security to your business and bolstering your compliance efforts.
Improve Customer ConfidenceConsumers are becoming increasingly aware and concerned about cybersecurity risks, according to KPMG. As consumers become more knowledgeable on the cybersecurity landscape – including the different types of threats that exist – businesses must respond by implementing tools and technologies that prove their cyber resiliency to improve customer confidence. A Ponemon study showed that 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. These statistics highlight the importance of maintaining a strong security posture. One tool that should be in every business’s arsenal of tools is security awareness training, as it will help to ensure every working individual follows best practices to mitigate security threats. If prospective customers see that you’re taking a more proactive approach with your cybersecurity measures, they’ll be more likely to do business with you.
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