Cyber security is a vital component of all our everyday operations. Being ready to protect your business against a host of potential threats in order to carry on with normal functions has never been so important. While many focus on interdicting threats and rebuilding after a threat has struck, there's a comparatively ignored part of cyber security preparedness that more should be considering: cyber security awareness training.
What Is Cyber Security Awareness Training?
Cyber security awareness training actually isn't far from meaning just what it says. Essentially, it's training that focuses on various topics in cyber security that the individual employee should be aware of. Understanding these points will help businesses put forth a better security profile by addressing issues that the regular employee can act to prevent, and in so doing, make the company's security operations more effective and more efficient.
By training employees to avoid key points of failure, some of the biggest problems, as well as a few of the most frequently-seen problems, can be avoided altogether. This means more resources available to address bigger problems, which often require larger amounts of resources to be properly addressed. There's less diversion to address problems that may never have emerged in the first place if someone had known better.
Businesses that Should be Using Cyber Security Awareness Training
A wide range of businesses can benefit from cyber security awareness training.
Small businesses perhaps stand to benefit the most from cyber security awareness training due to their overall lack of resources. Since they have the least resources of any class of firm, anything they can do to protect themselves in advance of an attack helps prevent those resources from being used for anything short of a serious emergency.
Mid-market businesses occupy an unusual space. They have more resources than the small business, making them a better target, but they also don't have the expertise of the larger enterprise business. Being a more tempting target with less capability to defend means the mid-market business will be especially vulnerable. Protecting against some of the simpler problems will, again, make sure necessary resources are on hand to defend against that which isn't so readily stopped with training.
Businesses under federal regulation.
Both Sarbanes-Oxley and Payment Card Industry (PCI) regulations tend to reflect the fact that the human is the greatest point of failure in a security program. Training, therefore, helps address this fact, shore up the weaker link, and help ensure the small problems that serve as a drain on resources are addressed the fastest.
Businesses with customer-facing operations.
The costs of a data breach vary from business to business, but any kind of data breach has costs both immediate and enduring. Preventing these breaches from taking place whenever possible means a direct cost savings, and with the right kind of cyber security awareness training, businesses can better insulate themselves against attacks and reduce the chances of a data breach from ever taking place. That means a safer, and therefore better, customer experience, which improves the chances of customers coming back to do business with the firm in question.
What Proper Cyber Security Awareness Training Should Look Like
Not all cyber security awareness training operations are made equal. Knowing what to look for in the best ones will go a long way towards getting the best protection for the business that uses it.
Protects against the right threats.
If the program trains employees to recognize several common threats like spear phishing, regular email phishing, ransomware, infiltration stemming from bring your own device (BYOD) operations, and the insider threat, then it's a good chance this is the right program.
Tailored to your needs.
Is the program personalized? Is it taking into account the threats that the individual business is most likely to see? Can it reach the employees on their current level of cyber security awareness, or is this a program geared toward the expert in a room full of beginners? Answer these basic questions and you'll have a handle on the program's effectiveness.
Offers measurable results.
The old saw about not being able to manage what can't be measured doesn't always apply, but in cyber security awareness training, measurable results are a good point to have on hand. Determine just what it is you want to accomplish; fewer system outages, fewer spam emails arriving, or other metrics help determine just how successful a cyber security awareness training program can be.
But Does Cyber Security Awareness Training Actually Work?
With a Bromium report suggesting that large enterprises are spending an average of $290,033 per year just on phishing awareness training, it might be easy to question whether or not cyber security awareness training actually works. Compare the costs spent to the typical phishing attack—$1.6 million, based on a Cloudmark study—and the over five-to-one difference makes cyber security awareness training look well worth its salt.
However, it's important to note that just packing the employees in big crates on wheels and forcing them into cyber security awareness training likely won't help. This destroys engagement, and makes the employee a lot more likely to watch a clock and wait for the training to end rather than derive anything useful out of it. So to get the most out of that training—and make sure you see those five-to-one rates of return—do your best to find engaging cyber security awareness training for your employees. They need it, but they also need to want it.
When You're Ready for the Best in Cyber Security Awareness Training
Cyber security awareness training can be one of the greatest investments you make for your business. If you're ready to put some extra punch into your security plans, start by getting in touch with us at UTG. We focus on employee awareness and can partner with both large and small firms to help provide the kind of security that can head off threats as well as respond to them. Education is a vital part of the security process; drop us a line to get started.