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How To Increase Cyber Awareness for Your Company

how to increase cyber awareness for your company guide

The cost of cyberattacks is growing. According to IBM’s 2023 Cost of a Data Breach Report, the price tag of a destructive attack crew by more than $430,000 from the previous year. For this reason, and many others, increasing cyber awareness within your company is more important now than ever. Ransomware, data theft, phishing, and credential stealing have continued as persistent threats, and an attacker can launch all of these by using your staff. The best way to heighten your company’s cyber awareness is through cyber awareness training, which helps make sure your employees are on the battle lines as opposed to merely spectating.

What Is Cyber Awareness Training?

Cyber awareness training is a type of education designed to teach individuals about online security threats and how to protect against them. It helps people understand the risks associated with using digital devices and networks and develop good security practices that will keep their personal and professional data safe.

Why Cyber Security Awareness Training Is Important

Cyber security awareness training is critical for businesses for several reasons, all of which directly impact your bottom line.

Protection Against Cyber Threats

In the digital age, businesses are increasingly vulnerable to cyberattacks such as phishing, ransomware, and hacking. Cyber security awareness training helps employees to identify and report potential threats, such as suspicious emails or unauthorized access attempts.

Preservation of Business Reputation

A data breach or cyberattack can have a severe impact on a business’s reputation. By raising cybersecurity awareness for employees, businesses can help reinforce the importance of safeguarding sensitive information and reducing the risk of a breach.

Increased Productivity

Cyber security awareness can also improve employee productivity. By helping employees understand how to stay safe online, businesses can reduce the time and resources spent dealing with security incidents, letting employees focus on their core tasks.

Benefits of Security Awareness Training

Cyber security training for employees is essential for any organization that wants to reduce its risk of cyberattacks and protect sensitive information. Here are some of the benefits of cyber security awareness training:

Improved Security Posture and Fewer Successful Phishing Attacks

This training helps employees identify potential threats and take action to prevent them. That leads to an overall improvement in the organization’s security posture, as employees are more vigilant and prepared to deal with security incidents.

When employees are aware of what phishing looks like and what to do if they suspect an attack, they’re more likely to report an assault instead of falling for one.

Reduced Risk of Data Breaches

A data breach can cause significant financial losses, legal liabilities, and reputational damage. Cybersecurity awareness training can help employees identify potential vulnerabilities and take steps to reduce the risk of a data breach.

Lower Costs and Liabilities

When your employees are aware of how to react to — and prevent — cyberattacks, you can significantly reduce your costs and liabilities. When an aware employee prevents an attack from succeeding, the expenses associated with repairing the damage, recovering data, and paying IT staff in the wake of the attack disappear.

Also, when you detect an attack earlier, it can reduce how much it costs your company. According to a report by IBM, if you can contain a data breach within 200 days or fewer, you save $1.12 million, on average.

In addition, many industries have specific regulations around data protection and cybersecurity, and failure to comply can result in significant financial penalties and reputational damage. Cyber security training for employees helps businesses ensure they are meeting these requirements and sidestepping legal or financial problems.

How To Enable a Cyber Awareness Training Program

Here are some steps to enable a cyber awareness training program that arms your employees to ward off attackers.

1. Assess Your Training Needs

Before starting a cybersecurity awareness training program, it’s important to assess your organization’s training needs. Identify which employees need training, what topics should be covered, and how often training should be provided.

2. Develop a Training Plan In-house

Based on your in-house training needs assessment, develop a comprehensive training plan that includes the training format, topics covered, delivery method, and timing. The training plan should also include metrics for measuring the success of the training program.

3. Develop and Review Internal, Unique Policies

Not all digital environments are the same, so you should develop and review policies that support your specific training program. This includes policies that outline the acceptable use of company resources, password policies, and other security policies.

4. Work With a Managed Services Provider

Managed Services Providers (MSPs) have deep expertise and experience in cybersecurity, as well as experience providing training to employees. They have worked with many organizations and understand the unique challenges that each business faces. Working with an MSP ensures that your training program is designed and delivered by experts in the field.

With an MSP, you also get the most up-to-date training, which ensures your employees are ready to combat the most recent threats and advanced attack techniques.

5. Choose a Training Method

Many training methods are available, including online training, classroom training, webinars, and simulated phishing campaigns. Choose a method that aligns with your training plan and is effective for your organization.

6. Deliver the Training

Once you have developed a training plan and selected a training method, it’s time to deliver the training. Make sure that all employees complete the training and track their progress to ensure compliance.

7. Measure and Improve

Measure the effectiveness of your cyber awareness training program and make improvements as needed. This includes measuring the success of the training program and adjusting the training plan and policies as necessary.

8. Maintain Ongoing Training

Cyber security awareness training is an ongoing process, and it’s important to provide ongoing training to keep employees informed and up to date with the latest security threats and best practices.

What Your Cyber Awareness Training Program Should Include

Content that follows NIST guidelines

The National Institute of Standards and Technology has developed rigid, thorough guidelines around how to protect a wide range of digital environments. Gluing your program to its standards can improve its effectiveness.

Short pieces of training content at regular intervals

Providing bite-sized pieces of content makes it much easier for your employees to digest and apply the information, as giving them too much at once can lead to learning fatigue and frustration.

Interactive video content

When you use video content that employees can interact with, it boosts the rate of attention. Each interaction involves the employee reteaching the information to themselves, planting it deeper in their brain.

Randomized phishing simulations

Using random phishing tests, you can easily assess how well your employees are dealing with the social engineering that powers these attacks. At the same time, it’s important to avoid trying to embarrass your employees. Your goal should be to check their readiness and provide them with data that helps them self-evaluate.

Tracking and reporting

By including a tracking and reporting system in your cyber security training for employees, you make it far easier to quantify results. Quantification makes reflecting on the progress of your program easier, and it provides handy metrics when it’s time to justify spending on the program during budget discussions.

Deeper Dive

Here’s a quick guide of what your cyber awareness training should include so you can make sure your program is comprehensive.

How Often Should Cyber Awareness Training Be Performed?

Holding training sessions once or twice a year isn’t enough. By maintaining a continuous training program, you keep cybersecurity issues top of mind for your employees. Many successful companies have short video training sessions at least once every month with random phishing tests regularly.

Performing cyber security training for employees with this level of frequency is important for several reasons:

  1. Cyber threats are constantly evolving:

Cyber threats are constantly evolving, and new threats emerge regularly. Performing frequent cyber awareness training makes sure employees are up to date on the latest threats and understand how to identify and respond to them. Frequent training can help employees stay informed and vigilant, reducing the chances of an attacker getting through.

  1. Reinforcement of good cyber hygiene habits:

Cyber security training for employees is not a one-time event. Frequent training can help reinforce good cyber hygiene habits, such as creating strong passwords, avoiding phishing scams, and protecting sensitive information. When employees receive regular reminders and guidance, they are more likely to adopt good cybersecurity practices and make them a habit.

  1. Compliance with regulations:

Many industries have specific regulations around data protection and cybersecurity, and failure to comply can result in hefty fines. Frequent cyber security training for staff can help businesses ensure they are meeting these requirements and avoiding potential legal or financial issues.

  1. Changes in technology and business practices:

Technology and business practices are constantly changing, and frequent cyber awareness training can help employees keep up. For example, as more businesses move to remote work or adopt new technologies, employees may need to learn new cyber security practices and protocols to keep the organization safe.

  1. Prevention of security incidents:

The ultimate goal of cyber awareness training is to prevent security incidents from occurring. Frequent training can help employees recognize potential threats and respond appropriately, reducing the risk of a successful attack. Prevention of security incidents can save a company significant costs associated with incident response, remediation, and recovery.

The importance of cyber awareness training for companies cannot be overstated, especially as cyber threats continue to increase in scale and complexity. Cyber security awareness training can help protect businesses against potential cyber-attacks, reduce costs and liabilities, comply with regulations, and protect the reputation of the company.

A successful cyber security awareness training program involves assessing the company’s training needs, developing a comprehensive training plan, working with managed service providers, selecting an appropriate training method, delivering the training, measuring the effectiveness of the training, and providing ongoing training. By taking these steps, companies can prepare their employees for the battle against cyberattacks and reduce the risk of cyber incidents, thereby increasing the productivity of their employees and protecting the company’s bottom line.

By partnering with TPx, you get experienced cyber security professionals who know exactly how to design and maintain your cyber awareness training program. Learn the details by connecting with TPx below today.

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