Employee cyber awareness training is one of the most crucial cybersecurity techniques. A 2019 Verizon study estimates that up to 32% of data breaches involved phishing. Unfortunately, up to 56% of Americans don't know how to respond to attempted phishing attacks or hacks. Your IT support team works 24/7 to keep your network safe as other employees interact with phishing emails and click on malignant links every day, exposing your systems to the risk of unauthorized access. If you do nothing about this, it will lead to a vicious cycle with no solution.
When bad cyber actors compromise a single gadget, say an employee's work phone or tablet, they can access almost your entire network. It's a no-brainer, therefore, that most cyberattacks begin with the end-users’ negligence. Your staff are your weakest link in the war against bad cyber actors, and ironically, also your first line of defense. Therefore, occasionally training them on comprehensive cybersecurity awareness can go a long way in enhancing your security posture. Here's why the 21st-century business must educate its staff to be cyber safe:
Cyberattacks Are on the Rise as More Employees Work From Home
According to Global Workplace Analytics, 23-30% of all American workers will operate from home for at least two workdays in a week. The COVID-19 pandemic forced many organizations to adopt the work-from-home model without keenly evaluating their long-term cybersecurity ramifications. That has created some sort of hacker's paradise:
- Employees are operating from less-protected home-office environments: Before introducing any gadget or technology into your in-office environment, your IT support team must assess and evaluate its potential cybersecurity effects. Besides, you have dedicated staff monitoring your office gadgets 24/7. All these make the in-office environments safer than the home-office environments. The latter is challenging to monitor since they're scattered across various locations and have less-stringent cybersecurity measures, leaving your staff all by themselves.
- Cyberattackers have a more expansive playground: With work environments scattered across various homes miles apart, hackers have more ground to practice their malice. Since you can't send dedicated IT support teams to all these places, the best solution is to ensure your staff has the subject-matter expertise.
- Employees use unsafe devices to connect to corporate networks: The pandemic caught most people unawares. To survive, most organizations allowed their staff to carry work gadgets home, or worse still, to use personal devices to access company systems. Away from the safety of the office, these devices are more likely to land on the wrong guys and give the bad guys access to your entire network.
Over 90% Of Cybersecurity Incidents Come From Staff Negligence
Even with the most advanced threat intelligence technology and state-of-the-art security software automation, your systems are still vulnerable if your staff cannot identify and respond to threats efficiently. Bad cyber actors always look for the biggest score with the least effort, and it's much easier to create a convincing spear-phishing email than to scout for zero-day vulnerabilities. That explains why most cyberattack vectors target employee negligence. Unfortunately, over 78% of workers understand the dangers of malignant links but still click on them, anyway.
A cyber-conscious workforce is better equipped to identify potential threats and thwart them before they get severe. With over 92% of successful data breaches and hacks resulting from staff laxity, a well-planned cyber awareness program can significantly make your systems safer.
Employee Cybersecurity Training Is a Core Component of Compliance Requirements
For a long-time, organizations have been conducting cyber awareness training as personal initiatives to bolster their cybersecurity postures. However, with the cybersecurity issue becoming a severe concern for modern-day organizations, compliance regulators increasingly see the need to make cybersecurity training mandatory.
Already, data security standards like NIST 800-53, HIPAA, and PCI-DSS mandate businesses to train not only their C-suite executives and IT support teams, but the entire workforce. Noncompliance can attract hefty penalties.
Everybody Is a Potential Target
Some people believe that bad cyber actors mainly target IT support teams and executives with unabated access to corporate networks, but this is not true. Cyberattackers can use the most unexpected user as a backdoor to your entire system. Let's take the recent "Shark Tank's" host, Barbara Corcoran's infamous phishing scam. Bad cyber actors duped her bookkeeper into paying over $400,000 into a fake Asian account. Who would have thought that they'd target the bookkeeper? Nobody.
Therefore, it's essential to train all your staff, regardless of their roles or positions. Fortunately for Barbara, she recovered her money. But that's not always the case. As you can see, cyber awareness training is an essential factor in the war against cyber-crime. We recommend making it a habit and not a one-time investment. That's because bad cyber actors continually advance their tactics, and you need to keep your staff with the emerging threats.
LeadingIT offers 24/7, all-inclusive, fast, and friendly technology and cybersecurity support for nonprofits, manufacturers, schools, accounting firms, religious organizations, government, and law offices with 10-200 employees across the Chicagoland area.