Happy Cybersecurity Awareness Month!
As I promised last week, today, we will discuss at the 1st Cybersecurity Pillar. But before we dive into that, I have a question for you.
What is a small business’s greatest cybersecurity vulnerability?
95% of all cybersecurity breaches are due to human error. –Cybint
Why is that? It’s because employees make human errors. These errors are unintentional actions or lack of action that allow a breach, ransomware, or result in some other form of damage.
And for SMB owners, what is even scarier is that a single human error could mean the downfall of your entire organization.
After all, the average cost of a data breach in 2021 is $4.24 million. –IBM
Human Error in Cybersecurity
Before we talk about fixing human errors, let’s talk about human errors in cybersecurity and why they are on the rise.
The first and most obvious reason is that companies are increasingly digital. Years ago, you only needed to secure your offices. Data existed in the form of papers.
But now, data is mainly digital. And how people work is so different, especially with remote working being an option. Data is everywhere! And it can be accessed from anywhere, too.
As a result, the number of endpoints that need protection has increased significantly. With increases, bad actors have more potential targets.
The second contribution to increase human risk is the lack of cyber literacy.
Cyber literacy is the ability to use computer technologies effectively. And while using technology, a cyber literate person understands the implications of their actions.
Low cyber literacy means an increased chance of human error.
The most common example is an employee who accidentally downloads a malicious file by clicking on a phishing link. The file then releases malware into the internal network, which leaks private and confidential company documents.
How to Combat Human Error
Much of human error results from end-users simply not knowing what the right course of action is in the first place.
Going back to that phishing example, if the employee knew how to spot a phishing email, they probably would not have downloaded the malicious file.
But here is the deal. The lack of knowledge is never the fault of the employee.
No, it’s the fault of the business owner for not providing proper cybersecurity education.
As you might have guessed, the best way to address human error is with Cybersecurity Awareness Training.
Educating your employees on security basics and best practices allows them to make better decisions. And that is why it is our 1st Pillar for a rock-solid security posture.
And today, we are going to tell you everything an SMB owner needs to know about it.
What is Cybersecurity Awareness Training?
The most efficient way to educate your employees on security best practices is through Cybersecurity Awareness Training.
In essence, Cybersecurity Awareness Training is a way to teach your employees how to defend company data.
Cybersecurity Awareness Training can cover many security topics, such as phishing emails, ransomware, network security, and other procedures.
The goal of the training is to improve the overall cyber literacy of an organization’s employees.
However, this training isn’t one-size-fits-all.
The training can be structured and presented in a way that fits your organization’s unique culture.
And with so many different types of training out there, it can be overwhelming.
So, to help you along, here are our 5 Do’s and Don’ts for Cybersecurity Awareness Training.
5 Do’s for Cybersecurity Awareness Training
Ensure your material is relevant.
Technology is constantly changing all the time. And so are cyber threats. Cybersecurity Awareness Training is only going to be effective if it covers relevant material. Learning material needs to not only avoid technical terms. It is best to use real-life situations. The more relevant the material, the more likely it resonates with the employees.
For example, an employee doesn’t need to know the mechanics behind a phishing attack. Instead, they need to know how to identify one.
Break down material.
You don’t want to teach everything your employees need to know all at once. Instead, it is best to tackle one topic at a time. Breaking the material down into bite-sized chunks will help with overall knowledge retention.
Offer practical advice.
While talking theory can be interesting, your Cybersecurity Awareness Training should give employees actionable steps. Going back to that phishing email, once the employee successfully spots that malicious email, they should know the procedure of what to do next.
A side note, a phishing simulation is a powerful tool to test training.
Create a security culture.
One of the great benefits of Cybersecurity Awareness Training is that it puts security at the forefront of employees’ minds. And for the training to work, it must be a part of your company’s security culture.
A good security culture encourages employees to talk about cybersecurity regularly. Within that culture, employees are encouraged to ring up security concerns and ask questions. Everyone understands that they play a role in actively protecting company data.
Partner with a Managed Security Service Provider (MSSP).
For small businesses, it is a brilliant idea to partner with an MSSP. An MSSP is a type of IT service company that focuses on cybersecurity. The role of an MSSP is to ensure that a client’s employees and systems are safe, secure, and compliant.
Naturally, most MSSPs are well-equipped to host Cybersecurity Awareness Trainings. If you can have a security expert teach your people all things security, why wouldn’t you?
5 Don’ts for Cybersecurity Awareness Training
Don’t be infrequent with training
To keep employees fresh on best practices, host your sessions regularly. At NetGarde, we recommend you host a training session every quarter. But we do have clients that conduct a training every month.
Don’t use dull content.
Text-based content can become very tiresome for a learner. And nobody learns when they are bored. You want your training program to engage the learner. One of the best ways to do this is by using video and interactive content. But keep in mind, the videos should be high-quality and enjoyable to watch. A dull instructor standing in front of a PowerPoint does NOT make for a good video.
Also, keep in mind, many people learn by doing. Interactive content can help keep the learner focused and engaged throughout a course.
Don’t forget to track progress.
While nobody likes pop-quizzes, it is essential to test employees on what they learned. Tests help motivate employees to stay focus on the course. Also, testing helps the learner recall the information they have just learned from their memory.
And as a business owner, you can use tests to help gauge if the training is sticking with your employees.
Don’t forget to include your remote employees.
Staff working from home are outside the direct oversight of IT support teams and often struggle to deal with cyber threats. So, make sure your remote employees receive annual Cybersecurity Awareness Training. You may want to dedicate an additional course just to remote work.
Don’t let unqualified people run your training program.
Lastly, make sure your training program instructor is qualified to teach your staff. For instance, HR is NOT qualified to teach cybersecurity best practices, but they can help organize the training.
I should also mention, your IT staff or managed IT service provider may also not be qualified to instruct your team on these matters. These professionals tend to be IT generalists – they are not cybersecurity experts.
As mentioned above, an MSSP will most likely be your best bet.
Get started today:
An essential part of cybersecurity is educating employees to make smart decisions. Your staff can be your greatest vulnerability or one of your best safeguards.
If you’re not sure how to implement this type of training, MRW Systems is here to help.
Under our NetGarde security services, we help train employees on security best practices. To learn more about our services, give us a call at 410-751-7111.
And don’t forget to tune in next week! We are going to discuss our 2nd Cybersecurity Pillar: Policies.