Research shows that IT security awareness training is a critical component of business security. If your IT service provider isn’t offering training to your employees, you aren’t being protected.
Your employees can be your biggest threat, or your best protection.
We see it every day as IT security experts.
For bad actors looking for a way into your business, your own employees provide the broadest opportunity for a breach. After all, it only takes one click on one wrong link to give criminals total access to your files. That includes your emails, your personal information, and/or your clients’ data.
Conversely, your employees can also be your best protection against these threats.
The difference comes from how well your IT provider has conceptualized your IT security service and strategy. Research into the causes of business breaches and data loss consistently proves that even the most overzealous efforts from the tech side can’t compensate for a lack of employee security awareness on the ground.
The most critical step is simple with the right IT partner in your corner: train everyone in your company properly. Employee cybersecurity awareness training should be a compulsory part of your employees’ onboarding process. Training can be delivered via an e-learning module or an in-person class. Ongoing training and refreshers are just as critical.
With the right complementing practices built into your IT security solutions, transforming your team from an inherent risk into your most important line of cybersecurity defense is not as difficult an undertaking as you may think.
Issues cybersecurity awareness training addresses
Recognizing Evolving Phishing Attempts
Almost everyone with an email address is familiar with the daily barrage of phishing attempts. In fact, according to research, 78 percent of employees are aware of the risks of suspicious links in emails, but click on them anyway. And the days of easy-to-spot “scam emails” are behind us. Phishing tactics become more evolved and convincing than ever. As our Level5 IT security team demonstrated in a cybersecurity awareness post last month, today’s phishing emails can be virtually indistinguishable from legitimate emails.
Educating staff on the risks of opening suspicious email attachments is a proven way to get them to think twice before opening emails they’re not absolutely certain about. The right training also shares details about attempted attacks so your team can see the risks are real, evolving in appearance, and persistent. By seeing what these threats look like, your team learns to recognize the ongoing attempts all businesses are facing in 2021.
Understanding Social Engineering
Another glaring example of how your security technology needs the cooperation of your team to be totally effective? Social engineering.
Social engineering is another tactic cybercriminals use to exploit businesses of all sizes every day. It involves manipulating people within your business to get them to provide access or divulge confidential information.
Criminals use social engineering because they know that it’s much easier to exploit people’s natural inclination to trust than it is to find ways to hack into your network. As you can imagine, it is much easier to fool someone into giving you their password than it is for you to try hacking them. Often this is done by impersonating somebody known to the business, like a senior manager or a major supplier.
Employees should be thoroughly educated on social engineering tactics and how they’re used to trick business owners and employees into sharing passwords, bank information, or even access to computers and devices. Some of the most widely-publicized breaches in recent memory have been traced back to social engineering.
Creating Formal IT Security Policies and Practices
Another crucial aspect of IT security training? Learning to craft formal information security policies that all employees need to read and sign. Your IT provider should be on hand to advise you on this as well. These policies should put the following in clear terms:
- Best practices for protecting data
- What specific things need to be avoided
- What procedures employees need to follow to reduce data security risks and actively guard against cybersecurity threats
A good IT policy should also explain the specific actions a team member needs to take if they suspect there’s been a cybersecurity incident.
It’s key to act fast and make the right people aware the moment anything suspicious happens. Your IT provider can then jump into action to take steps to reduce the risk of serious consequences. They can then work with your team to find and fix gaps in your practices, and help make other employees aware of an emerging threat.
- Employee security awareness training is a critical component of IT security for businesses
- The majority of employees aren’t trained to recognize a threat. As a result, employees are the original source of most breaches.
- For adequate protection in 2021’s rapidly-evolving cybersecurity threat landscape, your IT provider should absolutely have employee training built in as a part of its IT security solution offerings.
- IT services for businesses should be a partnership. Your IT services provider should be able to offer not only training, but guidance in writing IT policies and helping analyze weak spots in your company’s practices.