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How security awareness training can safeguard companies from cyber-attacks

15 Sep 2020

Article by Reciprocity.

Cybersecurity incidents are at an all-time high. Despite this, few companies undertake security awareness training.

Human actors are the weakest link in a cybersecurity chain. Even so, many employees don’t know how to mitigate these attacks or what to do when attacks occur. 

Cybersecurity awareness training entails educating all stakeholders about an organisation’s cybersecurity landscape. It helps to raise awareness of cyber threats, thus mitigating the risks associated with the attacks. It also goes a long way in embedding a culture of cybersecurity compliance within the company.

With security incidents increasing in scope and sophistication, there’s a need for business owners and CTOs to engrain cybersecurity awareness training into their organisations’ corporate DNA. Here’s how security awareness training safeguards companies from cyber-attacks.

It helps to prioritise cybersecurity threats

Cybercriminals don’t target just anyone in an organisation. Instead, they target individuals who are the gateway to crucial company or customer data. 

For instance, the finance and HR departments will always get targeted due to their privileged access to crucial company data. If an employee working in any of these departments falls for a scam, the results will undoubtedly be devastating.

By regularly undertaking security awareness training, it’s easier to prioritise threats and the individuals who need it more. It’s also easier for a general awareness program to get lost within the maze of formal corporate communications. 

By making the awareness programs relevant to end-users, the company’s overall security posture will improve.

Keeps cybersecurity policies up-to-date

In any organisation, cybersecurity policies are crucial to the establishment of standard operating procedures. These policies provide a framework for identifying cybersecurity risks and defining compliance. 

An effective security awareness training program helps improve internal policies, making it easier to maintain compliance and track staff responses when incidents occur. It also helps to streamline the organisation’s internal cybersecurity framework.

It helps organisations prepare for attacks

In today’s digital world, cybersecurity incidents are a matter of ‘when’ rather than ‘if.’ 

Breaches can occur at any time, and organisations should be ready for them. There’s no better way to safeguard a company from cyber-attacks than creating awareness among all stakeholders. 

There may be robust cybersecurity measures in place, but they can’t stop attacks if employees don’t know how to implement those measures.

Therefore, it’s best to begin preparing for the inevitable by educating employees, senior management, third-party vendors, and other stakeholders about their role in the security environment. 

When every team member understands their responsibilities in preparing for breaches and responding to them, the organisation will be playing a significant role in fortifying your cybersecurity stance.

It provides a foundation for implementing oversight and reviews

Companies handle different types of data every day. The threat landscape also evolves similarly. It will be easier to educate employees about the dynamic threat landscape by undertaking regular cybersecurity awareness training.

Conducting a review of staff readiness towards breaches to pinpoint areas of weakness is becoming more crucial. This will also establish whether the cybersecurity policies already in place are adequate and whether training should be updated. The awareness programs should mirror the ever-changing threat landscape.

Training creates a shift in employees’ attitudes

It’s common for employees to stop being vigilant and avoid observing security best practices. This alone increases the risk of cyberattacks. 

Awareness programs play a significant role in reminding employees and everyone else involved in the company about cybersecurity best practices. 

The programs keep employees apprised with the latest threats and how they can avoid falling victim to cyber-attacks.

For instance, after working long at the company and familiarising themselves with everything, employees may start overlooking practices such as double-checking email addresses. Instead, they will only be taking cursory glances at recipients’ names when sending emails. 

Regular training reminds them of their responsibilities in safeguarding the organisation from attackers. Consequently, it will be harder for them to make such blunders.

Security awareness training demonstrates regulatory compliance

The idea behind the implementation of regulatory standards such as PCI and SOC was that humans are the weakest link in any organisation when it comes to information security. 

Training employees does more than enhancing the organisation’s resilience against cyber threats. It also attests to an organisation’s commitment to observing cybersecurity best practices.

Regulatory agencies require companies to educate their employees and vendors about cybersecurity threats. When audits are conducted for certification purposes, this is one thing that the regulatory agencies look at. 

Since compliance requirements for organisations also focus on employee training, it’s best to implement awareness programs that touch on all aspects of the organisation.

Key takeaways

Security awareness training is an indispensable tool for creating a culture of cybersecurity awareness in the organisation. It helps employees to get tech-savvy and protect the organisation against costly scams and breaches.

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