When considering how to improve your business’s cyber security, your mind most likely goes straight to technological interventions.
From application controls and configurations to multi-factor authentication and restricting administration privileges, there are a range of measures that can help harden your defences. However, the most effective and cost-efficient step you can take is usually something a little softer – cyber security training for employees.
It doesn’t matter how robust your systems are if your team members aren’t aware of, and actively protecting you against, potential cyber threats.
This is particularly true if your employees regularly work remotely or use cloud-based solutions, as this increases your vulnerability to attacks.
But by delivering structured cyber security training for employees, you can turn one of your system’s biggest weaknesses into one of its greatest strengths.
How cyber-savvy are your team members?
In their 2023 Data Breach Investigations Report, global telecoms powerhouse, Verizon, found that 74% of cyber security breaches are caused by human error. This is despite the widespread focus on, and investment in, security protocols and protections against common sources of attacks.
This highlights just how critical cyber security training for employees can be. Within every business, there will naturally be varying levels of technological competency and literacy. Even if a team member’s work is mostly computer-based, that’s no guarantee that they are aware of the potential risks they regularly face.
Also, whether due to a lack of understanding, a lack of focus, or simply an accident, human error happens. There are a range of ways these simple mistakes can compromise your business’s cyber security.
Falling for phishing scams
Phishing scams are designed to trick employees into sharing sensitive information or making fraudulent payments. Traditionally, these have been easier to spot.
Using unsecured networks
Public Wi-Fi is a great tool for staying connected, but it also presents significant security risks. And, with working remotely now commonplace, the temptation to tap into a convenient, but unsecure, public network is much greater.
Using personal devices
Most people won’t have the same level of security on their personal phone or computer as you have on your business’s devices. So, whether you have a “Bring Your Own Device” policy or employees check work emails on their own phones, your data could be at risk.
The value of cyber security training for employees
Every member of your team is responsible for keeping your business’s data and systems safe. Regardless of where they sit in the organisation, their actions can either expose you to risks or strengthen your defences.
That said, as with any other part of their job, you cannot reasonably expect your employees to take on this role without some direction. You need to let them know what they should be looking out for and what is expected of them.
You also need to ensure they have the skills and experience to identify potential issues and respond correctly!
This is where cyber security training for employees can help. When done well, it ensures every member of your team is aware of the biggest risks that your business faces. It also supports a culture of security and the implementation of best practices that your team actually want to follow.
Return on investment
While it may not seem obvious, cyber security training also offers a significant return on investment!
When compared to more technology-driven solutions, employee training is actually better because it helps address the root cause of the majority of breaches – the human element.
Once a culture of well-trained and security-conscious employees has been established, new employees will simply fit into that culture, meaning you pay for training once, but reap the benefits of it well into the future.
What good cyber security training for employees looks like
For it to be truly effective, several important factors must be considered when designing a cyber security training program.
Training should cover all elements of cyber security and the role your employees play in keeping your business safe. It also needs to strike the balance between not assuming any prior knowledge, and still respecting your employees’ intelligence.
Depending on your industry and operations, certain risks and requirements may be particularly relevant to your business. Training should be designed to focus on these, while still providing a broad understanding of good cyber security practices.
Cyber security training for employees is as much about developing competency as it is about increasing awareness. Acknowledging this, training programs should include opportunities to practise key skills (e.g. through simulations, online learning, etc.).
Everyone processes new information differently, so training should support a range of learning styles. This can be achieved by including a variety of channels (e.g. online courses, in-person briefings, written materials, etc.) in your plans.
Cyber security requirements are constantly changing and evolving, as attacks become more frequent and sophisticated. As such, regular updates and engagement of employees are required to keep them across the latest threats and reinforce good cyber hygiene.
While it can make a significant difference, training alone will not keep your business safe. As such, training should be delivered in partnership with other essential cyber security measures.
As with any other development activity your business invests in, the effectiveness of your employee cyber security training should be measured.
Cyber security training for employees at OneCloud IT Solutions
Here at OneCloud, we understand the importance of cyber security training for employees and the significant benefits it can provide. That’s why awareness building and skill development are always key elements of our cyber security recommendations and consulting services.
If you would like more information on cyber security training for employees, or are interested in using our program, contact us today.