A business’s employees play an integral role in keeping an organization safe and protected from malicious sources including ransomware and phishing attacks. However, the majority of businesses are leaving their employees underprepared and ill-equipped to handle the increasingly dangerous digital landscape, putting sensitive company data, business reputations, and profit margins at risk.
With only 60% of businesses providing formal cybersecurity awareness training to their employees, it’s evident that businesses are overlooking the need to create employee accountability and cybersecurity literacy. If organizations want to maintain business continuity, avoid costly data breaches, and protect their reputation, they will need to invest in continuous and comprehensive employee cybersecurity training.
Top Three Benefits of Implementing Employee Cybersecurity Training
Employees need to be equipped with the tools and knowledge to defend against new and sophisticated cyber threats as employees are usually the first line of defense for an organization. A comprehensive and ongoing employee cybersecurity training program can help businesses of all sizes secure their sensitive data and maintain a fortified security posture amidst an increasingly hostile digital environment.
Here are the top three benefits of implementing employee cybersecurity training.
Increase Awareness of Insider Threats
Insider threats typically originate from employees with intimate access to a business’s network. The number of insider incidents has increased by 47% over the past two years with 60% of organizations seeing 30 incidents per year. The absence of employee cybersecurity training increases the frequency of human error and creates a habitable environment for insider threats.
Businesses can shield themselves from insider threats by ensuring their employees fully understand what these threats look like. Insider threats can be either malicious or negligent. Let's take a closer look at each type.
Malicious Insider Threats - A malicious insider threat intentionally steals data for personal gain, whether that be for financial reasons or for retaliation. Retaliation can come in various forms including a disgruntled ex-employee exfiltrating sensitive company data to intentionally impact a previous place of employment.
Negligent Insider Threats - A negligent insider threat lacks intentional malintent and instead leaks sensitive data accidentally. Negligent insider threats are typically born from a lack of cybersecurity awareness and training. These threats can occur in several common scenarios such as an employee unknowingly falling for a phishing scam or failing to properly secure databases leading to the exposure and exploitation of sensitive customer records.
The best way for businesses to avoid insider incidents is through rigorous and relevant employee cybersecurity training. Employees are more likely to make safer choices that protect their organization when they have full comprehension of the consequences and scope of insider threats.
Minimize the Likelihood of a Costly Data Breach
A successful data breach can quickly bring a business of any size to its proverbial knees. From a financial standpoint, data breaches halt business-critical operations leading to increased downtime and lost revenue. Manage service providers (MSPs) report that the average cost of downtime due to ransomware has increased from $46,800 to $274,200 over the past two years.
From a reputational perspective, successful data breaches sever customer loyalty and erode customer trust. Businesses need to instill customer confidence if they want to earn their continued business and that is simply impossible if customers lose trust in a business's ability to keep their data secure.
A data breach is less likely to happen when a business takes the proactive measures of implementing a culture of cybersecurity that includes continuous holistic employee cybersecurity training. Keeping every employee up-to-date on the latest cybersecurity best practices will prevent them from making simple mistakes that could threaten the security of their entire organization.
Improve Employees’ Ability to Recognize Phishing Attempts
Phishing attacks are evolving in sophistication and are becoming harder to identify. This doesn't bode well for organizations as only 5% of employees can effectively spot a phishing attack. However, businesses can leverage an employee cybersecurity training service that includes simulated phishing tests to bolster employees’ ability to recognize phishing attempts.
Simulated phishing tests are designed to provide employees a safe sandbox to learn how to combat phishing attacks without ever being at risk. Employers can access simulated phishing scores to learn which of their employees are more vulnerable. This is invaluable data for businesses as they can provide additional cybersecurity education to any employee who consistently fails mock phishing tests, proactively strengthening their weakest security links.
Keep Your Data Secure with Holistic Employee Cybersecurity Training
The cost of an employee cybersecurity training program is minimal when compared to the cost of downtime from a potential data breach. A strategic investment into employee cybersecurity training will pay off over time as businesses avoid costly downtime, data breaches, and reputational harm.
Businesses that want to spend more time on business-critical work can delegate management of employee cybersecurity training to experienced cybersecurity specialists. Businesses that invest in holistic employee cybersecurity training empower their employees and engrain a culture of security, responsibility, and accountability.