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Cybersecurity

How Cyber Security Awareness Training Can Save Your Business

Brooke Burdick

Group of Security Data Center Operators at Work

As technology has improved, many businesses have shifted their operations almost entirely online. This means that everyone in your organization needs to be aware of potential cybersecurity threats, regardless of whether they’re working in a technical role. 

Conducting regular cybersecurity training empowers your team with the knowledge they need to identify and avoid cyberattacks. Even a small data breach can be devastating for your business, resulting in damage to both your finances and your reputation. 

Think of cybersecurity awareness training as an investment in your organization’s digital safety. Here’s what to expect from cybersecurity awareness training and why it’s so important for any growing organization. 

Key Takeaways

  • Cybersecurity awareness training proactively teaches your team about current cybersecurity threats and best practices. 
  • This training should be conducted on a regular basis and is beneficial for all employees, regardless of rank or department. 
  • Cybersecurity awareness training is particularly effective for teaching employees how to avoid phishing attacks in real-world scenarios. 
  • By implementing cybersecurity awareness training, your organization can avoid the downtime, financial losses, and reputational damage that come with cyber attacks. 

What is Cybersecurity Awareness Training? 

Cybersecurity awareness training is a program that teaches your team about prominent online threats and how to handle them. Training sessions and materials are provided by cybersecurity experts from your managed IT services provider. 

Training is conducted on an ongoing basis and addresses a wide range of cybersecurity concerns and issues. It’s also available to employees working in a variety of different positions, from entry-level roles to C-suite leaders. 

Why is Cybersecurity Awareness Training Important For Your Business? 

Today, many teams rely heavily on digital tools to accomplish their business goals, particularly in remote or hybrid working arrangements. This means that employees in a wide range of roles need to have a working knowledge of IT and data security best practices. 

Offering remote and hybrid work options can help you attract top talent and improve employee productivity, but they also come with increased cybersecurity risks. For example, your employees may be working from unsecured Wi-Fi networks or personal mobile devices. 

Cybersecurity awareness training gives your entire team valuable cybersecurity knowledge they can use in their day-to-day operations, regardless of where they work or the tasks they’re doing. 

This is essential for mitigating cybersecurity risks. Cyber attacks and data breaches can happen to any business, regardless of size or industry. In 2023, over 353 million individuals were impacted by data breaches.  

Unfortunately, many people underestimate just how much damage cyberattacks can do. The average total cost of a data breach is $4.45 million, which accounts for downtime, potential fines, and lost sales as a result of damage to your reputation. 

By committing to regular cybersecurity awareness training for your team, you reduce the risk of a successful cyberattack compromising your systems. 

What is Included in Cybersecurity Awareness Training? 

What is Included in Cybersecurity Awareness Training? 

Cybersecurity awareness training has three key components, which work together to improve your team’s approach to security challenges. 

Annual Training

Annual training keeps your team up-to-date on the latest cybersecurity threats. It also provides a refresher on key security best practices. 

Cybersecurity awareness training should also be made available to new employees within 30 days of their start date. This helps prevent accidental data breaches as they’re adjusting to your systems. 

Hackers develop new strategies as technology evolves, so recurring training is essential to keep your team informed. These training sessions should be required for everyone, regardless of their role. Even your most tech-savvy employees may not be aware of the latest cybersecurity threats. 

Phishing Simulation

Phishing is when a hacker poses as a trusted contact in an attempt to access sensitive personal, financial, or business data. Phishing is one of the most common cyber threats globally and affects both businesses and individuals. 

Over the years, hackers have developed strategies to make their phishing messages more convincing. Even the smartest, most cautious employees can fall victim to phishing threats if they’re not paying attention. 

Cybersecurity awareness training includes a phishing simulation, which encourages your employees to be more discerning in their work communications. This simulation sends fake phishing messages to your employees when they’re least expecting it. 

This will show you which employees know how to spot phishing attacks and which employees need more training. It creates a teachable moment by mimicking a real-life phishing attack. 

Reports

Cybersecurity awareness training comes with detailed quarterly reports. These reports detail how your employees have performed in training modules and in the phishing simulations. 

These reports provide helpful insight for your cybersecurity strategy. You can use this information to identify areas to work on with your team, as well as ways you could potentially beef up your cybersecurity strategy. 

The Benefits of Cybersecurity Awareness Training

The Benefits of Cybersecurity Awareness Training

Implementing cybersecurity awareness training comes with a wide range of long-term benefits for your organization. Here are some of the ways that cybersecurity awareness training can help your business. 

Enhanced Awareness

Many people are aware of potential cybersecurity threats in theory, but don’t know how to spot them in practice while doing their jobs. Regular training helps your employees put their cybersecurity knowledge into practice in real-life situations. 

In particular, this training helps employees be more aware when using email, text messages, and instant messages in a work capacity. Training teaches them to be more mindful of who they’re communicating with and be protective of sensitive data. 

Risk Mitigation

Cybersecurity awareness training also plays an important role in cybersecurity risk mitigation for your entire organization. 

Many breaches are accidental. In fact, research indicates that 68% of data breaches are at least partially caused by human error. Regular training will help prevent your employees from making these mistakes and leaving your systems vulnerable. 

This training program will also help you identify where your team and your systems are most vulnerable. This way, you can address these risks and put strategies in place to mitigate them before a cyberattack can happen.  

Data Protection

With the current frequency and severity of data breaches, your employees need to know how to handle sensitive data. Cybersecurity training teaches your employees how to handle both internal business data and customer data appropriately. 

This helps keep your operations secure, and it can also help you build trust with your audience. Today’s consumers want to work with businesses that have strong cybersecurity policies in place and take privacy seriously. 

By committing to cybersecurity, you’re showing your consumers that you truly respect their comfort and safety. 

Reduced Downtime

Cyberattacks can take your systems offline for an extended period of time, which negatively affects your productivity. For example, a ransomware attack causes an average of 24 days of downtime. 

Since cybersecurity awareness training prevents potential data breaches, it can help you reduce business downtime. You’ll spend more time working toward your business goals and less time putting out security-related fires. 

Regular training can also help get your systems back up and running faster if your business is targeted by a cyberattack. Your team will have a better understanding of what to prioritize in an emergency and how to respond to an attack efficiently. 

Compliance

Many organizations have to meet industry compliance and governance standards, particularly when it comes to storing and protecting consumer data. For example, companies in the healthcare industry need to adhere to HIPAA guidance. 

You may also need to adhere to general cybersecurity compliance standards based on your location. For example, companies in California are subject to the California Consumer Privacy Act, which is one of the strictest data privacy laws in the United States. 

Cybersecurity training can help your organization understand and adhere to compliance standards more effectively. Failing to adhere to compliance standards can result in fines or even legal action, which is why it’s so important to be proactive with your cybersecurity awareness training. 

Empowered Teams

When your employees don’t get cybersecurity awareness training, they may feel helpless or frustrated when a cybersecurity threat arises. 

Regular training empowers your team to tackle security problems right when they arise, rather than having to rely heavily on IT support for everything. They’ll feel more confident working online and using your systems, which is hugely beneficial for everyone involved.