Employees are the lifeblood of a company and when it comes to cybersecurity they are one of the biggest factors when it comes to whether or not you will suffer a data breach. Phishing attacks are becoming increasingly popular and without proper security awareness training there’s a good chance that some of your employees will be tricked into downloading malware. Security awareness is simply the knowledge and aptitude that members of an organization possess regarding the protection of assets within the company. In this article where going to break down all of the reasons why your company should invest in security awareness training for your employees:
1) Data Privacy: In the last few years there has been an increase in the amount of legislation around user privacy and data protection of customers. Regulations like PIPEDA, GDPR and CCPA to name a few mandate that customer information be handled in a very particular way and have the proper security measures in place or organizations can face heavy fines. If employees aren’t properly trained on handling information, this can lead to mistakes that can be very costly to the company if discovered during an audit.
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2) Physical Security: Now everyone talks about the cyber aspect of organizational security but physical security is still a concern that employees need to be trained on. Some of the things employees need to be aware of include tailgating, shoulder surfing, eavesdropping and other physical security issues that take advantage of an employee’s lack of security awareness. One study found that as much as 70% of respondents believed their company could suffer a data breach because of tailgating. 3) Cyber Threats: Primarily phishing attacks, employees that are unaware of what these threats look like and how they operate are much more likely to fall victim to one of these attacks. Phishing attacks are responsible for approximately 66% of malware downloads in a corporate environment, so it’s critically important that employees are taught how to recognize and report these emails.
3 Tips for good security awareness training
1)Teach recognition of attacks: Techniques like phishing, vishing, shoulder surfing and tailgating should all be explained to employees so that they can recognize these tactics when they are used and they know how to respond. Employees should be taught not to click on any malicious links, not to download any suspicious attachments and report these emails so that the IT staff can filter out future emails.
2) Incorporate it into company policy: This part is two fold, it should be mandatory for employees to undergo security awareness training during onboarding and at least annually. Also, company policy should mandate the use of secure practices, for example not allowing people to tailgate and require that each employee scans their own access card. This helps people to feel more comfortable asking people not to follow behind them without feeling like they are being rude and it also helps to normalize the secure practices that you want your employees to follow.
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3) Run Simulations: In addition to just educating employees it’s important that you test them using simulated exercises. These can be done with or without the employees knowledge to get an accurate idea of how well your employees are able to identify and respond correctly to different scenarios.
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