Cybersecurity Awareness: A Critical Need for Every Employee

  • 5 August 2020
  • Author: Jonathan Scott
  • Number of views: 385

It’s been a turbulent year thus far for many businesses. An atmosphere of uncertainty and continuous change has become “the norm” in 2020, flipping some organization’s goals and strategies upside down. Even so, there are certain concerns which cannot be ignored or placed on the back burner. One of those is the growing concern for security risks and breaches. And although our employees are our greatest asset, they’re also our greatest security risk. According to a recent study with C-suite managers, 84 percent of those surveyed claimed employee negligence is the largest information security threat.

Enforcing cybersecurity awareness throughout every level and department has become a necessity for organizations. It all begins with the right training program for every employee in order to secure your IP and company data. Implementing a cybersecurity awareness training program is an essential step to securing your IP and company data. Today, it is everyone’s responsibility to care about cybersecurity.

There is a common misconception that cybersecurity training would only benefit IT professionals. This couldn’t be farther from the truth. Employees are facing an ever-increasing number of threats in their web browsers, networks and even in their email inboxes. In fact, data compromise is more likely to come from human error or behavior; approximately 90 percent, according to data from Willis Towers Watson. As a result, companies have an obligation to create a cyber aware workforce in order to be the first line of defense against cyber risks.

From executives to the individual(s) working at the front desk, everyone in your organization handles company data and should be required to attend cybersecurity training in order to better understand their responsibility in recognizing the signs of a security breach. 

The Makings of a Successful Cybersecurity Awareness Program

The requirement for data security, IP protection, and privacy policies should align with a training program, showcasing the importance every role must play in preventing cyberattacks.

It is imperative to educate employees on common threats in order to successfully fight against malicious intent. Additionally, a comprehensive cybersecurity awareness training program lowers risks of security threats along with freeing up the IT department’s time by avoiding cybersecurity breaches. Where time would have been spent on the defense of an attack, your IT department can instead devote time to an offensive strategy through Penetration Testing or multiple other proven methods in which to decrease Cybersecurity vulnerabilities and issues.  

When planning your cybersecurity awareness training program, you may consider your industry and company size for start. Next, consider these following topics in your cyber resilience training program:

1. Passwords, Access Privileges, and Secure Network Connections

Ensure that part of your cybersecurity awareness curriculum trains employees on basics regarding passwords, access privileges, and the need for secure network connections. It’s highly likely that many employees currently do not understand the implications of an insecure network connection and weak passwords.

Integrate these topics into your training to help:

  • Email and password security best practices
  • Why weak passwords are high risk
  • Job role access privileges

​​2. Social Engineering and Phishing

Phishing and social engineering try to steal sensitive information via email, chat, fake websites or other methods. They’re generally successful due to their disguise as a trustworthy source. Users can easily be tricked into providing passwords, credit card details, data or other divulging information.

Integrate these topics into your training to help:

  • Identifying and countering phishing scams
  • Spotting fake or suspicious web pages and software
  • Recognizing social engineering
  • Social engineering risks

3. Security for Devices

These days it’s very common for employees to use their own mobile devices or computers. As a result, there are more opportunities for threats when using these devices to connect to company networks and when accessing corporate data. For this, all employees must understand mobile device protection and security best practices.

It doesn’t end there; digital threats are not the only risks your employees need to worry about. Physical security also plays an important role; such as, leaving a computer or mobile device logged in unattended. Common mistakes such as these can put sensitive information at risk.

Integrate these topics into your training to help:

  • Mobile and computer device security
  • Proper and safe use of mobile devices
  • Insecure personal device risks
    • Physical device security guidelines
    • Best practices for storing and properly disposing of paper documents
    • Risks of unattended devices and sensitive documents

4. Cybersecurity Threat Reaction

The awareness of a potential security breach is essential to preventing issues; however, the reaction to a cybersecurity threat is just as important. For this, a simple threat reaction plan can be put in place that can be acted upon immediately; keeping you ahead of the game.

Integrate these topics into your training to help:

  • Assemble a threat reaction team
  • Determine the source
  • Contain the damage
  • Assess the severity
  • Notify those affected

End User Cybersecurity Awareness Training

Make sure your internal cybersecurity awareness training program for non-technical employees includes the latest and most relevant security knowledge.

Our recommendation is CyberSAFE Extended Edition 2019 – a cybersecurity awareness course for anyone regardless of computer or technical experience. This helps your workforce understand security compliance, social engineering, malware, and various other data security-related concepts. Additionally, the course explores how to use technology safely and securely.

Require the critical baseline for cybersecurity:

  • Understanding security compliance requirements and needs
  • Recognizing and avoiding different types of phishing and social engineering attacks
  • Recognizing viruses, ransomware and other malware
  • Securing data on computers, mobile devices, networks and in the cloud

Proper cybersecurity training is not exclusively for IT and Cybersecurity Professionals. Instead, having a minimum a foundational understanding of security issues and vulnerabilities is the responsibility of everyone in an organization. At New Horizons, we are on the cutting-edge of cybersecurity with training programs designed to ensure that your business can best prevent itself against attacks and significantly reduce your risk and increase your response time. View our entire lineup of Cybersecurity learning solutions.

We are here to help you find the right courses for your Cybersecurity needs. Reach out to us!

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Jonathan ScottAndrea Reynolds

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