Cyber Security Awareness Training for Employees

The cost of a data breach continues to climb. In the United States, the average cost of a data breach is $8.9 million, an increase of 5.3% over 2019.

Cyber security is everyone’s responsibility, not just yours or the IT department’s responsibility. The cost of a cyber attack causes many businesses to close within months.

That underscores the importance of cyber security awareness training for employees. A simple mistake could end up costing your business millions.

There are plenty of other reasons why you need to educate your employees about cyber security. Read on to discover what they are and learn how to create a culture of security in your business.

The Number One Cause of Cyber Attacks

The biggest threat to your business isn’t just hackers. It’s actually your employees. Employees are responsible for nearly 88% of all cyber attacks.

Most of these incidents aren’t malicious. Employees don’t think about cyber security, so they’ll engage in behaviors that inadvertently put your business at risk.

You have to empower your employees to make better decisions, which is why you have to train them.

Regulatory Compliance

Most businesses have to comply with security and privacy standards. These standards are very high in the financial and healthcare industries.

Many regulatory agencies require some kind of employee training, but too many companies don’t emphasize this enough. They might hand out a packet and expect employees to read it and follow through.

You have to go above and beyond the minimum requirements to reduce the risk to your business. Your business faces fines and lawsuits if you violate the law.

Even if the incident is accidental, your business is likely to be negligent because you didn’t train employees.

Employee Wellbeing

Does your business focus on mental health and wellbeing for employees? Believe it or not, cyber security should be part of that program.

Employees suffer productivity losses in the office. Outside of the office, 76% of employees noted that a data breach affected their personal relationships.

Many reported that they missed personal events and vacations because of the breach. About 16% quit because of the additional stress.

Customer Trust

Your customers trust you with their personal data. You’ve worked hard to build up trust and that’s a big reason why customers continue to do business with you. A data breach results in a breach of trust with your customers. They’re not very likely to do business with you again. That’s why an access rights review is almost mandatory for a business with many employees. Unless you have a huge marketing budget, you’re not likely to rebuild those relationships.

How to Program Cyber Security Awareness Training for Employees

The impact that cyber security awareness has on your business is massive. If you want to make sure your employees are properly trained, start with documented policy.

This needs to address the different types of security awareness. For instance, employees are likely to have more than one device connected to your network.

These are personal devices and work devices. Your policy has to make it clear that personal devices need to adhere to the same security standards as work devices.

If employees have laptops that they take on the road, they need to be responsible for them. They can’t be reckless and leave them at a coffee shop or in the front seat of their car unattended.

Teach Cyber Security Basics

Security awareness training topics should always start with the basics. You have to set standards for strong passwords and make sure that employees have access to a password locker.

Teach them how to recognize suspicious emails. Emails with links should not be clicked on, even if they think they know the sender.

One of the most important topics is for your accounts payable team. They are targeted because they have access to bank accounts.

They may get an email that is from a spoofed address, making it look like it came from an executive. The email instructs the recipient to deposit money into a bank account with a link.

The employee might think nothing of it, assume it’s legitimate, and make the deposit. You won’t see that money again.

You’d think that employees already know these things. These two issues are the largest causes of cyber attacks.

Provide Ongoing Training

It’s not enough to provide employees with an hour-long cyber security training. Technologies change, and so do the cyber security threats to your business.

Your job is to stay up to date on cyber security trends such as these trends and retrain your employees. You should have a quarterly training with a monthly update that’s sent via email.

The Cost of Cyber Security Training

What does cyber security awareness training for employees cost? You need to budget for paid time spent in training, developing the policies, and additional time enforcing policies.

That can cost a significant amount of money. However, you have to approach cyber security as a major threat to your business. If you do nothing, the costs are much greater if you suffer a data breach.

Cyber Security Starts at the Top

You need to create a culture of security in your organization. That starts from the top and trickles down to every employee and vendor.

Start by modeling cyber security awareness. You should always model the behaviors that you want employees to emulate.

You can also gather your executive team and make cyber security part of your business strategy. Have a plan in place to detect and respond to threats as well as prevent them.

Don’t Wait to Implement Cyber Security Awareness Training for Employees

Your employees are unknowingly the biggest threat to your business. They just have to use a weak password or click on an email to disrupt and destroy your business.

You simply can’t afford to ignore cyber security awareness training for employees. You need to continuously engage them, train them, and create a culture of security in your business. Your customers depend on it. Are you ready for more technology insights? Be sure to visit the Tech section of this site.

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