By John Allen – Director, SEO, 8×8
Cyberthreats are on the rise. Cybercriminal organizations and individuals are taking advantage of increased dependency on internet-based technology. Statista indicates that not only are businesses being targeted more frequently in 2022, but attacks are also becoming more sophisticated.
Both office working and hybrid working risk cyber attacks. As such, businesses must remain vigilant. To protect everyone involved, they need to implement stringent cybersecurity measures – and that includes cyber security training.
What is Cybersecurity Training?
Cybersecurity training is the process of implementing a training program that teaches trainees cybersecurity methods. They educate employees on data security, and how to identify and mitigate risks. Effective training can be done through interactive software, motivational talks, videos, and online courses.
Explaining to employees how to spot fraudulent emails with dangerous links for example, is a simple but essential part of cybersecurity training. You can expand on this further by discussing motivations behind such attacks so that employees understand their context.
Cybersecurity training may also include discussing a business’s security policies. Research conducted by Harvard Business Review found that 67% of 330 remote employees had breached cybersecurity policies at least once. Malicious intent was behind only 3% of these breaches. Most other motivations were associated with cutting corners to get work done.
This research indicates that the pressure of completing work often overrides the importance of adhering to security policies. Proper training can make them easier to understand and follow, and also ensure employees are aware of potential consequences of breaching policies. Some aspects may be more critical but there are policies every business needs.
Why is Cyber Security Training For Employees Important?
Whether your data is stored in the cloud or your phone line relies on PBX hosting, cyber security training is a must. Cybersecurity is not just an issue for business owners. Employees must also be responsible for playing their part in protecting business data and assets.
When your staff have access to, and are working with, sensitive company data, they have a responsibility to keep that data safe. Failing to follow security measures can lead to downtime, loss of data, and loss of assets.
Equally as important is the risk to your business’s reputation. Customers need to be able to trust you with their information. A cybersecurity attack may discourage customers and clients from associating with you. Not only is it a personal risk to them but a business without strict security measures in place looks unprofessional.
To highlight the necessity of business cybersecurity, Check Point recently carried out research on the rise of cyberattacks. It showed that the number of cyberattacks on organizations throughout the world surpassed 1,130 per week in the third quarter of 2022. This is an increase of 28% compared to the third quarter of 2021.
Cybersecurity Training Methods
Here are five steps to training your employees to become cybersecurity-savvy:
1. Raise Awareness of Attacks
The first step in training your employees is to build awareness of cyberthreats.
A 2020 Terranova phishing report notes that almost 20% of employees will click on a link in a phishing email, while 13.7% of employees will input sensitive data into a fraudulent web page after clicking on a phishing link. By making sure your team is familiar with this type of attack and reinforcing email security, you can increase the chance they’ll avoid it.
Use interesting facts and statistics to enhance your employees’ knowledge of cybersecurity. However, compiling a load of information and asking your employees to read it during their free time is probably not going to garner the results you hope for. Instead, you need to make it engaging.
Make your awareness training interactive by creating quizzes, games, and activities with gamification software. Include a rewards system that distributes points and badges for correct cybersecurity practices. Incorporate achievement milestones and launch friendly competitions to build enthusiasm.
The more interested your employees are in the training program, the more knowledge they will retain. Rewards will also reinforce desired behavior.
2. Establish Rules
Once your employees are aware of cyberthreats, you need to establish firm and specific rules. This helps them put their awareness training into practice.
Draw up a list of the most important cybersecurity rules to follow. Forward the list to all of your employees and create eye-catching posters to hang on your walls as reminders.
The list can include:
- Don’t share passwords with anyone within or outside the organization.
- Create strong passwords that include numbers, letters, and symbols.
- Open links by copying them directly into the address bar instead of clicking on email links.
- Ensure security software on your device is updated promptly when required.
- Only click on HTTPS websites.
Consider occasional pop quizzes asking employees multiple choice rule-related questions.
3. Communicate the Consequences of Rule-Breaking
While you don’t want to create an anxious atmosphere, there needs to be consequences for breaking the rules. These could be formal warnings, extra training, or a loss of their gamification points. Consequences should be clearly communicated with your employees and provide an extra layer of motivation for sticking to the rules.
4. Practice Drills
Theory is just part of the learning process. To test the cybersecurity knowledge of your employees, consider conducting random practice drills. Use software to simulate a cyberattack to see how your employees respond in a real cyberthreat scenario.
Conducting regular practice drills accomplishes two objectives. Firstly, you will allow your employees to put their training to use. This reinforces the training by requiring them to recall what actions to take in a variety of scenarios.
Secondly, you can collect data from the practice drills to identify any weaknesses in the training program. If, for example, the majority of your employees failed to respond correctly to one specific aspect of the drill, you know that you need to incorporate the appropriate extra training into your complete cyber security guide.
5. Advanced Cybersecurity Programs
Technical members of your team, such as IT specialists and security personnel, can be given more advanced cybersecurity training. This will reflect their important role in keeping your company safe and secure. They may also be responsible for installing and monitoring your security software programs such as DuoCircle, which is designed to block malicious emails.
Cybersecurity software development is an important factor in the battle against cyber criminals and their attacks. The advanced programs should aim to enhance cybersecurity skills. Ensure relevant employees are taught a deeper understanding of the subject so that they can proactively defend your company against cyberattacks.
As cyberthreats change, renew and update your training programs to include new methods of attack and defense. Online course platforms can be a great source of information for training like this.
You can also complete an Auditboard compliance testing program, which is essentially a cybersecurity audit designed to identify any vulnerabilities or risks in your set-up.
Ethical issues in communication can lead to cyber attacks. As such, to ensure the security of your company, its data, and its assets, you need to devise an employee cybersecurity training program. Remain aware of the ever-changing nature of cyberthreats and adjust your programs accordingly. Additionally, encourage cooperation and questions to ensure everyone is on the same cybersecurity page.