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The Importance of Cybersecurity Awareness for All Employees

2020 has been a turbulent year for many businesses. Even with the current atmosphere of uncertainty and continuous change, there are certain concerns which cannot be ignored or placed on the back burner. One of the largest is the growing concern for security risks and breaches. And believe it or not, even though our employees are our greatest asset, they’re also our greatest security risk. According to a recent study, employee negligence is the largest information security threat to 84 percent of C-suite managers.

It’s become a necessity to enforce cybersecurity awareness throughout all levels and departments in organizations. It all starts with the right training program for every employee in order to secure your IP and company data. Enforcing a cybersecurity awareness training program is a necessary step to securing your IP and company data. And today, it is everyone’s responsibility to care about cybersecurity.

You are likely already familiar with the common misconception that cybersecurity training would only benefit IT professionals. This is far from the truth. Employees face an increasing number of threats in their web browsers, networks and even in their email inboxes. Data compromise is more likely to come from human error or behavior; approximately 90 percent, according to data from Willis Towers Watson. That is too large a number to avoid. As a result, companies must create a cyber aware workforce in order to be the first line of defense against cyber risks.

From the board of directors to the individual working at your front desk, everyone in your organization handles company data and they should all be required to attend cybersecurity training in order to better understand their responsibility to recognize the signs of a security breach. 

The Makings of a Successful Cybersecurity Awareness Program

The requirement for data security, IP protection and privacy policies should align with a training program that showcases the importance each role has to play in preventing cyberattacks.

Educating employees on common threats is imperative in order to successfully fight against malicious intent. Additionally, a comprehensive cybersecurity awareness training program not only lowers risks of security threats… it frees up the IT department’s time by avoiding cybersecurity breaches. Where time would have been spent on the defense of an attack, they can instead devote time to an offensive strategy through Penetration Testing or multiple other proven methods in which to decrease Cybersecurity vulnerabilities and issues.  

When contemplating a cybersecurity awareness training program, you may consider your industry and company size for start. Next, consider the following topics in your cyber resilience training program:

1.  Passwords, Access Privileges, and Secure Network Connections

Ensure a portion of your cybersecurity awareness curriculum trains employees on basics regarding passwords, access privileges, and the need for secure network connections. Several employees do not understand the implications of an insecure network connection and weak passwords.

Integrate these topics into your training to help:

  • Email and password security best practices
  • Why weak passwords are high risk
  • Job role access privileges

2.  Social Engineering and Phishing

Phishing and social engineering try to steal sensitive information via email, chat, fake websites or other means. They’re generally successful due to their disguise as coming from a trustworthy source. Users can easily be tricked into providing access to passwords, credit card details, data or other divulging information.

Integrate these topics into your training to help:

  • Identifying and countering phishing scams
  • Spotting fake or suspicious web pages and software
  • Recognizing social engineering
  • Social engineering risks

3.  Security for Devices

More employees now use their own mobile devices or computers; after all, we are in the Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) era. As a result, there are more entry points for threats when using these devices to connect to company networks and when accessing corporate data. For this, they must understand mobile device protection and security best practices.

It doesn’t end there, as digital threats are not the only risks your employees need to worry about. Physical security plays an extremely important role as well; such as, leaving a computer or mobile device logged in unattended. These are common mistakes which put sensitive information at risk.

Integrate these topics into your training to help:

  • Mobile and computer device security
  • Proper and safe use of mobile devices
  • Insecure personal device risks
  • Physical device security guidelines
  • Best practices for storing and properly disposing of paper documents
  • Risks of unattended devices and sensitive documents

4.  Cybersecurity Threat Reaction

Awareness of a security breach is essential to preventing issues; however, how you react to a cybersecurity threat is just as important. You can put a simple threat reaction plan in place that can be acted upon immediately; keeping you ahead of the game.

Integrate these topics into your training to help:

  • Assemble a threat reaction team
  • Determine the source
  • Contain the damage
  • Assess the severity
  • Notify those affected

End User Cybersecurity Awareness Training

Ensure your internal cybersecurity awareness training program for non-technical employees includes the latest and most relevant security knowledge.

We recommend CyberSAFE Extended Edition 2019 – a cybersecurity awareness course for anyone, regardless of computer or technical experience. This helps your workforce to understand security compliance considerations, social engineering, malware, and various other data security-related concepts. The course also explores the hazards and pitfalls and learn how to use technology safely and securely.

Require the critical baseline for cybersecurity:

  • Understanding security compliance requirements and needs
  • Recognizing and avoiding different types of phishing and social engineering attacks
  • Recognizing viruses, ransomware and other malware
  • Securing data on computers, mobile devices, networks and in the cloud

Being properly trained and informed is no longer exclusively for IT and Cybersecurity Professionals. Instead, it is now the responsibility of everyone in an organization to have at minimum a foundational understanding of security issues and vulnerabilities. At New Horizons, we are on the cutting-edge of cybersecurity with training programs designed to ensure that your organization can best prevent itself against attacks and significantly reduce your risk and increase your response time. View our entire lineup of Cybersecurity learning solutions.

We are here to help you find the right courses for your Cybersecurity needs. Reach out to us!

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NH Learning SolutionsAndrea Reynolds

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