The importance of employee cybersecurity training

The importance of employee cybersecurity training

The rise of increasingly sophisticated cyberattacks is a major concern for businesses worldwide. In fact, reports found that US organizations can lose up to $8.9 million from a single breach. For small- and medium-sized businesses (SMBs), one data breach incident can mean the end of their operations since they usually don’t have access to the resources and expertise that large enterprises enjoy.

Worse yet, 43% of cyberattacks target small businesses, and the most common cause for a data breach among SMBs is an inappropriate use of IT resources by employees. Additionally, only 19% of employees interviewed in a Chubb survey said they received cybersecurity training from their employers.

The most common cause of SMBs’ lack of preparedness against cybercrimes is complacency. Many users mistakenly assume they’re too small a target for cyberattacks and, as a result, make terrible mistakes that often lead to a data breach. For instance, reckless employees may click on dangerous links in unsolicited emails or use easy-to-guess passwords across all their accounts.

To minimize exposure to these risks, employee cybersecurity training is absolutely vital.

How does cybersecurity training minimize cyber risk?

Implementing a robust security training strategy mitigates potential risks in three distinct ways:

  1. Employees will know how to spot and respond to cyberthreats. With effective and easy-to-understand awareness training, employees will learn how to avoid the most common kinds of cyberthreats during their daily operations. These include anything from spoofing attacks, where hackers usually disguise themselves as CEOs to trick staff into providing sensitive information, to suspicious websites that lure employees into clicking on dangerous links or downloading malware-laden programs.
  2. Employees develop good security habits. Security training doesn’t just help employees identify phishing scams, it also teaches them the skills and practices necessary to stay safe online. This includes but is not limited to proper data sharing etiquette, good password hygiene, and avoiding unsecured public Wi-Fi hotspots.
  3. Fully trained staff who can recognize threats are able to report them early before it wreaks havoc on the entire infrastructure. This enables IT departments or outsourced managed IT services to quickly implement incident response measures to save the organization from a potential business-ending attack.

Additional benefits of cybersecurity training

Beyond giving employees a more critical, security-conscious mindset, cybersecurity training offers significant benefits to businesses that implement them.

Maintain compliance and business reputation
Businesses across all industries must comply with GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) and other government-imposed data security standards. Without an effective cybersecurity training program, data breaches from human error are always a looming risk. Such breaches don’t only erode clients’ trust, but they also lead to expensive noncompliance penalties and prolonged compliance renewal processes.

Businesses avoid legal fines that would put them in the red
Besides hefty noncompliance fees, organizations that accidentally leak their clients’ and partners’ confidential information must pay the money they usually don’t have for legal proceedings and compensation. That’s why with practical employee cybersecurity training, companies reduce both the risks of human error and going bankrupt from paying off legal fees.

More efficient remote workforce
With COVID-19 disrupting the way business is done, most organizations have no choice but to transition into remote work. For many SMBs, this means their employees are accessing business data and systems on the same personal devices where they do their personal browsing. Often, these personal devices don’t have the most up-to-date cybersecurity protection. This exposes businesses to the ever-increasing risks of operations-halting malware and crippling security breaches.

This is where companies that have organized employee cybersecurity training see their investments pay off. Staff who are aware of the potential damages of cyberattacks don’t just avoid clicking on the wrong links, but they also make sure all their devices have the latest protection.

This means that even though the change to remote work might be abrupt, companies with a cyber-aware culture are able to continue delivering high-quality services without compromising on data security.

Simply put, the ability to remain efficient, secure, and agile is the key to today’s business success, and the right employee cybersecurity training program is an integral part of achieving that. For more information on employee cybersecurity training, or how we can customize training programs to your company’s specifications, contact Athens Micro today.

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