Who has access to the critical business applications of the organization? Who constantly works on a sensitive database that is potentially prone to cyber threats? It must be the employees of the organization, of course.
So, it makes it obvious that employees who have important accesses often become subject to cyberattacks and as a result, are the weakest links to the security posture of an organization, if not trained well about cybersecurity. According to a survey, 43% of employees do not get regular data security training while 8% have never received any training at all- certainly a big disadvantage for the organization!
Therefore, before the attackers can trick the employees or steal their identities, organizations should empower employees with regular security training and awareness sessions.
Tips on conducting successful security training and awareness sessions
#1 Regular cybersecurity briefings
Cybersecurity training and awareness should be a continuous process. It is best not to leave long gaps between two trainings – the employees may tend to forget the teachings and will remain unaware of the latest cybersecurity trends. So, it is always advisable to conduct employee security training and awareness programs so that employees are updated about the latest cybersecurity challenges and measures.
#2 Cut theory get practical
A 10-minute practical example to show employees how a data breach may occur is a lot more effective than an hour’s theory on the same. For instance, sending multiple emails to the employees and asking them to differentiate between the authentic and the malicious ones is a great way to educate them about phishing attacks. With such practical experience, their awareness of cybersecurity becomes much stronger and clear.
#3 Stay relevant
Undeniably, the topic of cyberattacks and cybersecurity is a vast one. Although it is great to have a comprehensive understanding of the same, it is also important to tap on the relevant topics. You don’t want employees walking out of the session being all confused and overloaded with information. The relevance of the information is surely subjective, but ultimately, the message about cybercrimes and what employees need to do to combat them should be conveyed.
#4 Aim for an engaging session
A security training and awareness session should be an interactive one. Free exchange of ideas, questions, and information brings an interesting perspective and might open doors to some great recommendations to combat cyberattacks and upgrading the existing security infrastructure for the better.
As regular employee security training and awareness sessions become an integral part of the organization, the following benefits are inevitable.
#1 Promotes ‘security-first’ culture
The main intent of providing security training to the employees is to convey a crucial message – security means everything to the organization, and that the business aims to be as cyber resilient as possible. During the training, every employee absorbs the importance of prioritizing security and thereby an integral part of the organization’s culture by default. Psychologically, the training becomes an effective medium to reinforce the fact that the organization values security.
#2 Reduces human error
To err is to human, but this can cause some serious damages to the organization if cyber attackers end up breaking into systems with lapses caused due to human error. An interesting read states that 90% of data breaches are caused by human error. A simple mistake, such as clicking on a malware email that carries suspicious links could lead to data breaches. Therefore, with training on common cyber scams and examples of a data breach due to human error, the employees will get some beneficial insights, making them furthermore vigilant.
#3 Prevents massive financial damage
Finance is the backbone of every organization. When finances are affected, the value of the organization, investments, employees’ salaries are all at a stake. According to IBM’s 2019 report, the cost of a data breach in 2019 for US firms amounted to $8.19 million per cyber attack! Also, the biggest cybersecurity risk to US businesses is employee negligence; so if the employees are trained well, they will tend to adhere to the security protocols, and the organization will successfully prevent massive financial damages.
#4 Enhanced reputation
However, while financial damage, to some extent, maybe recovered, reviving the lost reputation of an organization is challenging. As the employees are given security training and awareness, they understand that a data breach may tarnish the brand’s name. This enables them to understand the importance of strong security infrastructure, and they will be encouraged to strive for their employer’s brand equity. With efforts put in by every employee, the organization can seek confidence in its ability to keep cyberattacks at bay, thereby gaining the trust of its customers and enjoying a better reputation.
#5 Boosts employee morale
Ignorance is not bliss! Security training empowers employees, and they feel motivated to adhere to the best practices when they are aware of the intensity and frequency of cybercrimes and the latest cybersecurity trends. The fact that they’re doing their bit to keep their own and their company’s identity secure is a huge motivator.
Finally, with regular and productive security training and awareness sessions, employees will always remain a source of profitability and goodwill to the organization and not a pathway to massive cybercrimes.