Security Awareness Training is Vital to Your Cybersecurity Strategy – Cybersecurity threats are increasing by the day. The cybersecurity landscape aims to protect businesses and organizations by developing modern security solutions. However, despite the numerous tools at our disposal, businesses and organizations are far from safe.
This creates a need for businesses and organizations to find other means of combating the growing rate of cyber threats. An effective way to do that is to implement Security Awareness Training (SAT) programs for employees.
SAT must be a crucial part of your overall cybersecurity strategy. That’s because SAT focuses on preventing cybersecurity incidents caused by human error. This article will discuss security awareness training and why it is important, and we will also mention the most important topics to incorporate into your strategy. So with all that said, let’s begin.
Table of Contents
What Is Security Awareness Training?
Security Awareness Training, or SAT for short, is a program that educates employees on cybersecurity threats, best practices, and how to identify and report potential threats. Security awareness training programs aim to raise awareness and educate employees on the many dangers of the cyber world.
A security awareness training program can take many forms, such as in-person training, online courses, and webinars, among others. Moreover, the most effective cybersecurity awareness training program utilizes a combination of these approaches. Based on your organization’s needs, you can curate the most optimal security awareness training program to secure your digital infrastructure best.
Why Is Security Awareness Training Important?
Several reasons exist as to why a cyber security awareness training program must be a core component of your cybersecurity strategy. Therefore, we will now explain the five most important reasons.
Human Error Is Unavoidable
Despite the availability of modern cybersecurity solutions, human error remains the leading cause of most security incidents, including security breaches and data leaks. Therefore, employees are often the target of cyber-attacks and remain the weakest link in an organization’s security strategy.
Several types of cyber attacks are used by hackers to directly target and expose cybersecurity measures, including phishing attacks and other forms of social engineering attacks. Security awareness training helps employees recognize these threats and avoid making mistakes that can lead to costly security incidents.
Protecting Critical Assets and Data
Cybersecurity threats can have a devastating impact on an organization’s assets, including sensitive data, intellectual property, and of course, reputation. Cybersecurity training can stop security risks by helping employees understand the cost of data breaches, making them more aware of potential threats.
Making Your Organization Compliant
HIPAA, PCI DSS, and GDPR are some of the compliance requirements businesses and organizations must be aware of when handling customer and company data. With the help of security awareness programs, employees understand these requirements and how to comply with them.
But consider the fact that regulation compliance failure results in fines and legal repercussions. This presents an even bigger reason why businesses should invest in security awareness training programs to mitigate security threats for future cybersecurity planning.
Maintaining Customer Loyalty and Trust
Maintaining customer loyalty and trust is a challenge in itself. However, there isn’t an easier way to lose customer trust than breaches. A data breach can have a seriously negative impact on your organization’s reputation. In addition, the loss of customer trust is an added consequence of the monetary loss your organization will eventually face.
Security awareness training empowers employees to spot dangers while keeping the customer in mind. These programs will help them understand the importance of protecting the customer and their data and how to handle it properly.
By doing so, organizations maintain customer trust by keeping out the negative spotlight that comes with data breaches.
It’s Cost Effective
Finally, security awareness training reduces costs. Investing in these programs improves your organization’s security posture and makes it easier to develop cybersecurity policies and measures that work.
These programs are often less expensive than dealing with the aftermath of a security incident, such as a data breach, which can result in significant financial losses.
Important Security Awareness Training Topics to Incorporate
Lastly, let’s review the most important and effective awareness training program topics to include in your cybersecurity strategy.
- Phishing attacks
Phishing attacks are some of the most common types of cybersecurity threats organizations face. A phishing attack involves cybercriminals sending fraudulent emails that look legitimate, essentially tricking employees into clicking on a malicious link or attachment. With SAT, employees will learn to recognize phishing emails and how to deal with them.
- Password management
Weak passwords are another common security threat that cybercriminals can easily guess or crack. A guessed password leads to a compromised user account. Therefore, your SAT program must include best practices for creating strong passwords, password management and storage methods, and how often to change them.
- Social engineering
Social engineering is a broad umbrella that encompasses methods threat actors use to trick employees into giving up sensitive information, such as usernames and passwords. SAT programs should cover how to recognize social engineering tactics, such as pretexting, baiting, and tailgating.
- Mobile device security
With the increasing use of mobile devices, it makes sense to incorporate mobile device security and management into your SAT program. This includes setting up device passcodes, avoiding public Wi-Fi, and only downloading apps from trusted sources.
- Reporting security incidents
Employees should be encouraged to report any security incidents, regardless of how obvious they look. This includes suspicious emails, phishing attempts, and lost or stolen devices. Your SAT program should cover topics such as how to report incidents, who to report them to, and what information should be included in the report.
Security awareness training must be a vital component of your cybersecurity strategy. Relying on IT departments and security solutions for security isn’t enough. That’s because employees play an essential role in preventing security incidents.
To make your employees more aware of potential threats and dangers, make sure to invest in security awareness training programs.