An overall cyber security strategy is incomplete without a dedicated approach to training employees and reinforcing the importance of following cyber security guidelines.
Cyber security awareness training ensures that everyone within an organization understands the role they are expected to play when it comes to protecting sensitive data, defending against malicious attacks, and mitigating the risks of data breaches, identity theft, and other harmful cyber security-related events.
It’s not always obvious how cyber security training should be developed and executed. Many company leaders don’t know what steps to take to provide this training to employees, and others still aren’t sure if this kind of training is even important for their organization.
In this article, the team at Mission Critical Systems is here to help with some key facts about cyber security awareness training. After reading this article, you will have a better grasp of the importance of this training, and you’ll know what to do to successfully integrate a cyber security awareness training program within your own company.
What Is Cyber Security Awareness Training?
Essentially, cyber security awareness training is an educational approach to modifying employee behavior in a way that reduces risks to IT security. It’s likely that many employees within any given business don’t even know that their daily behaviors pose a risk to their employer. And sometimes, all it takes is a well-conceived cyber security training program to shore up these behaviors and make the overall organization better protected from security threats both within and without the company.
Many of the topics covered in cyber security awareness training include:
- Social Engineering
- Password integrity
- Basic network security
- Personnel access procedures
- Removable media policies
- Cloud security
- Remote working procedures
Keep in mind that the entire idea behind cyber security awareness training isn’t to make security experts out of the employees being trained. Rather, the goal is to develop behavioral best practices that cumulatively work to reduce overall exposure to security risks.
Why Cyber Security Awareness Training Is So Important
The principal reason for initiating a cyber security awareness training program is to help protect the organization from potentially devastating hacks, leaks, and breaches.
Here are some quick facts to drive home the importance of this type of training:
- When small-to-medium-sized businesses experience a data breach, roughly 10% of them wind up going out of business because of the breach (Source: National Cyber Security Alliance).
- In 2021, Verizon Wireless found that 85% of all data breaches happened because of a human behavior-related reason.
- A recent report from IBM estimates the average cost of a data breach to be north of $4.2 million.
These data only illustrate a fraction of the overall cyber security problem affecting businesses in the world today. Many of the financial losses due to hacks, breaches, and leaks go unreported, so the problem is likely much bigger than even these numbers suggest.
Another reason cyber security awareness training is so important is because new threats are constantly evolving. For this reason, it’s generally recommended to provide refresher courses to employees at least once per year.
How to Get Started with Cyber Security Awareness Training
For IT leaders or security executives looking to initiate a cyber security awareness training program, there’s some good news: there are lots of free resources available online.
The National Cyber Security Alliance (linked above) has some great videos, infographics, and literature that can be worked into training programs for internal administration.
Amazon also offers a 100% free online cyber security awareness training course.
As helpful as free resources are, however, they do have their limits. For the most effective cyber security awareness training, it’s best to have a curriculum that is unique to how your organization is structured. For this, many companies rely on IT security firms like Mission Critical Systems—we can consult with you to identify key areas where cyber security awareness training may be needed, provide training modules that are most relevant to the way your company operates, and set up ongoing testing to measure the effectiveness of the trainings.
So, let’s recap. Cyber security awareness training aims to modify employee behavior so that company assets are protected from security threats. And, the importance of cyber security awareness training cannot be overstated. Lastly, deploying a cyber security awareness training program within your company doesn’t have to cost you a penny, but for the highest level of efficacy, it may be worth exploring custom training program development from a qualified IT security firm like us.
As always, if you have any security-related questions, we are here to help! Just contact us, and we’ll be happy to assist you.