How to Improve Employee Cybersecurity Awareness

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A visual concept for cybersecurity awarenessApproximately 90 percent of data breaches are caused by human error, according to a report by Kaspersky Lab. When businesses dedicate time and resources to make employees aware of cybersecurity threats, they’re taking a necessary step to reduce risks and prevent cybercrimes from causing financial and reputational damage to the enterprise.

Why Is Cybersecurity Awareness Important for Employees?

Cybersecurity awareness training is designed to educate employees on the complex cybersecurity landscape. Using various learning methods, cybersecurity awareness training can help employees at all levels understand the threats that exist and provide information about how to identify an attack.

Below are some of the top reasons why cybersecurity awareness training is essential for employees.

Cyberattacks are Constantly Evolving and Becoming More Successful

Technology is continually evolving and cybercriminals get savvier every day, making it increasingly difficult to distinguish a scam from legitimate communication. Most modern businesses rely heavily on technology for all aspects of their operations, from customer communications to routine operations. Through comprehensive cybersecurity awareness training and a continued emphasis on the importance of vigilance, employees can be prepared to spot risks and avoid behaviors that could lead to a breach.

Many Employees are Not Properly Trained on Cybersecurity

Although many businesses provide training, employees often lack sufficient information regarding cybersecurity. It’s important that employees have a solid understanding of all aspects of cybersecurity, such as the differences between various types of attacks, including spoofing, phishing attempts, social engineering and malware. It should also teach employees to properly use spam filters, verify senders’ addresses and identities, and identify suspicious email addresses, URLs and email attachments.

Minor Errors Made by Employees Can Be Costly and Damaging

Data breach concept. Cybersecurity awareness training should not end at onboardingThe harm that a data breach can cause is often underestimated. According to a study by Accenture, the average cost of a cyber crime is $13 million. Employees who are not paying attention or are distracted could make one minor mistake that leads to a massive data breach.

A Culture of Cybersecurity Awareness Boosts Employee Confidence and Wellbeing

When employees are uncertain about how to best protect themselves and the business from cyber risks, it can create ongoing stress that directly impacts the employee’s productivity and performance. When employees are made aware of what threats to look out for and how to safeguard the business from these threats, they gain confidence in their ability to use technology safely to do their job.

How to Assist Your Employees with Improving Cybersecurity Awareness

There are many ways that businesses can boost their employees’ cybersecurity awareness. The methods that an organization chooses will depend on factors such as their size and budget.

Some of the best practices for properly training employees to identify and manage cyber threats that could make the company vulnerable to criminals include the following:

Hold Monthly Cybersecurity Awareness Training Sessions

Cybersecurity awareness training should not end at onboarding. Consider holding cybersecurity awareness training sessions for all employees on a monthly basis. During these meetings, review cybersecurity guidelines so that they remain fresh in employees’ minds. This is also a great time to address any questions or concerns that workers may have regarding cyber risks.

Administer Phishing Tests to Understand their Levels of Awareness

Phishing simulations have proven to be highly effective in determining how employees engage with malicious URLs, links and attachments. A phishing test typically consists of mock phishing emails or webpages that are sent to employees to see what action they take when they encounter malicious content.

Encourage Them to Monitor for Suspicious Activity or Emails

Every organization should have controls in place to monitor and report suspicious activity or emails. Educate employees on what to look for when going through emails, performing web research and navigating unfamiliar websites. Review red flags that could indicate that the content is unsafe and how to react when security gaps are discovered.

Work with a Third-Party Cybersecurity Consultant

Cybersecurity Consulting conceptAll businesses have their own unique IT infrastructure and face various cyber-related risks. Due to the complexity of the cybersecurity landscape, it is important to consult with a professional who is experienced in the field of cybersecurity awareness. A third-party cybersecurity consultant can provide organizations with a wide range of services to reduce their risk of a cyber event. These services include cyber risk assessments, incident response team formation and planning, IT strategy consulting, and IT coaching and mentoring.

Speak with Hartman Executive Advisors for More Information

Strengthening employee cybersecurity awareness is one of the best ways for organizations to better protect their business and foster a workplace environment where employees have the skills and resources that they need to keep cyber threats at bay. To learn more about how and why organizations should focus their employees on cybersecurity awareness or to speak with a cybersecurity expert, contact the team at Hartman Executive Advisors today.

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