Cyber security threats continue to evolve and as technology becomes more advanced. So too do hackers and the methods they use to attack businesses. With that in mind, we’ll be exploring the importance of cyber security awareness training in 2023. We will also cover some important points for consideration to ensure that the training it is effective and relevant. First though, we need to explain exactly what cyber security awareness training is…
What is cyber security awareness training?
Cyber awareness training is a programme of training that is designed to educate the staff within an organisation about the risks they might face online. And what their role is in helping to protect the business from security breaches. Effective training from cyber security experts helps employees to understand proper information security protocols and processes. Also, it gives them an insight into how their actions can impact the security of the business. And how they can identify potential cyber-attacks should they encounter one.
How important is cyber security awareness training in 2023?
According to a 2022 report into data breaches, 82% of breaches were because of human error. That statistic alone speaks volumes for just how important cyber security training is today. With the right training and knowledge, staff will know how to avoid making mistakes that could result in data breaches. As well as increase their awareness of threat intelligence and potential attacks.
The staff are an essential part of your first line of defence against cyber attacks. They are also likely to have at least some involvement with sensitive data. If they accidentally breach GDPR, no matter how small the incident, it could lead to serious implications for the business. Not only could you be faced with a hefty fine from the ICO, but there is the possibility of long-term damage to your reputation to consider.
Additionally, depending on the nature of the breach, your employees could open the door for cyber criminals to access your sensitive data. By falling for phishing scams or having poor password practices. The technologies that are available today to help reduce these types of risks are highly beneficial. However, it is down to you as an employer to make sure that your employees understand the technologies and use them correctly. This avoids mistakes and helps maintain the high standard of security practices you have in place.
Benefits of awareness training
Thorough and comprehensive training is the best way of helping employees to understand the risks. This can help them to know what to do if they are in a cyber security risk situation that they aren’t sure about. The most important reasons why cyber security training is key in 2023 are:
- It can mitigate data breaches and phishing attacks – employees will confidently know how to spot a phishing attack and take extra care to avoid inadvertently breaching sensitive or confidential data.
- It will create a better culture of security for your business – having strong security processes and foundations in place will help all staff to understand what they need to do to protect the business, this includes any new employees you take on board.
- It will improve technological cyber defences against threats – there needs to be a high level of familiarity amongst staff on how to effectively use important security tools, so they can be used correctly without any vulnerabilities.
- It will reassure customers – consumers are becoming increasingly more aware of cyber threats and take more care with who they share their information with online. If they know your business has been involved in a security breach or doesn’t adhere to best practices, it is likely to deter them from buying your products/services as they won’t trust you.
- It will help you meet compliance requirements – meeting compliance requirements is an important part of cyber security awareness training, but that doesn’t mean you should do the bare minimum to meet regulations. The programme should be detailed and beneficial to employees, and being compliant is just naturally part of that, not the main focus.
Business best practices for cyber security awareness
Cyber security training should be a journey, not a destination.
Single sessions that cram in lots information as possible that employees won’t be able to remember is proven to be ineffective.
Good training should resonate with staff, it should be delivered regularly, in sessions that aren’t too long, and that fit around employee’s schedules as best as possible. It should also be contextual to aid understanding. Positive reinforcement and less formality with a bit of humour injected is often the most effective way to make training memorable and engaging for staff. The below best practices should hopefully help you think about how best to approach your cyber security awareness training.
- Schedule training multiple times a year.
- All employees across all levels of the business should be involved in the training.
- Think about how your employees work and the key obstacles they face in their roles.
- Handle training with care and don’t be too critical.
- Look for ways to support learning outside training sessions such as with handy guides, posters around the office etc.
Key topics to cover in training
Cyber security can span a wide range of topics. Some of which won’t be relevant to your awareness training, but many will be. The most important topics you will want to make sure employees know include but aren’t limited to:
- Phishing awareness – how to recognise and deal with phishing emails and phone calls.
- Password security – advice for using strong passwords and avoiding personal meaning.
- Privacy – with instruction on protecting all types of sensitive data whether that be customers, the business, or other employees.
- Compliance – covering the importance of being compliant with regulations like GDPR.
- Office hygiene – how employees can protect and suitably dispose of paper with confidential information as well as maintaining office equipment like desks and screens.
- Inside threats – teaching employees how they can recognise threats that come from within the business and the steps they should take in that scenario.
Going back to the original question of this article. Cyber security awareness training is invaluable in 2023, now more than ever in fact. Everyone working within an organisation no matter how big or small, should have a clear understanding of how to keep that business safe online and the risks to look out for. Contact the team at CyberWhite today to discuss your awareness training needs and how our cyber security services can benefit you.