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Did you know 64% of Americans don’t know what to do in case of a data breach? Unfortunately, that also includes your employees.

It’s predicted that cybercrime will cost the world $10.5 trillion every year by 2025. That’s a huge sum of money, but you can save your organization’s share in it by offering cyber security awareness training to your workforce.

Cyber security awareness has become the need of the hour for today’s organization since it helps prevent financial and intellectual property loss.

According to the 2020 State of Phish annual report, 65% of the US organizations experienced a successful phishing attack.

The alarming part of this figure is that it is only expected to rise with every passing year. Therefore, cyber security awareness training is a must-have for your organization. In this article, we go into detail about the importance of cyber security awareness and some tips to introduce this training in your organization.

What is Cyber Security Awareness Training?

Cyber security awareness training means being mindful of security risks in cyberspace in your day-to-day internet use. Everyone should be aware of the risks of online interactions, checking their emails, and browsing the web.

Business leaders in organizations must ensure that their workforce is sufficiently knowledgeable about cyber security risks and good practices. Sure enough, not every employee must understand complicated concepts, like DNS cache poisoning, but everyone must have a basic understanding of cyber security risks, such as phishing.

In 2019, 90% of the online breaches resulted from human error. That means you can prevent most cyber security risks by training your workforce appropriately.

It’s important to note that cyber security training may differ for each department in your organization. While the technical teams may need more advanced data management and regulation training, other non-tech workers should be familiar with basic concepts, such as access authorization and information protection.

Why is Cyber Security Training Awareness Important for Businesses?

Today, we live in a time where the majority of the work processes are conducted online. Since your workforce shares everything from financial data to important company information online, they must be aware of safe practices to ensure the information does not fall into the wrong hands.

On top of that, remote working conditions that arose as a result of the pandemic further increased the necessity of cyber security training.

A data breach shouldn’t be considered a trivial matter or overlooked since it can result in massive losses. In fact, 10% of small businesses close after a data breach.

To make matters worse, the 2020 BillGuard survey showed that 43% of small and medium business owners don’t have a cyber security defense plan in place.

Even if businesses manage to recover from a cyber security breach, the cost of getting back on their feet is huge. An IBM report showed that the cost of recovery was the highest in 2021, rising from $3.86 million to $4.24 million.

The same report showed that pandemic and remote work resulting from it further increased the cost by $1.07 million. Most breaches were caused due to compromised credentials.

Apart from the cost of recovery and monetary loss, the employees’ lack of knowledge about cyber security practices is another reason why organizations need to offer cyber security awareness training.

A social engineering study showed that 27% of the employees clicked on an email phishing link. Along with clicking on suspicious links, employees also downloaded malicious email attachments and files. In fact, some employees entered their credentials on malicious or fake sites.

As evident, such mistakes by employees not only affect them on an individual level with identity theft but also impacts your organization as a whole.

Benefits of Security Awareness Training

Having a well-defined security awareness training program in place can offer many benefits to your organization.

Ensures Compliance

Depending on your location, your state or city might require you to comply with certain cyber security regulations. For instance, some industries mandate role-based training for employees. Two major examples include finance and healthcare.

A cyber security awareness training program can ensure compliance with these regulations and requirements.

Establishes a Security Culture

On an individual level, your employees are more likely to take cyber security seriously if there’s a culture of security in the organization. By implementing a security training program, you can foster a culture of practicing good cyber security measures.

Every employee should be well-educated about their role in ensuring the overall security of an organization.

An awareness program will teach your employees that every click and download has severe consequences. Therefore, they need to be mindful of the attachments they download, the sites they enter their credentials in, and the links they click on.

Keeps Organization Safe

A cyber security attack can halt all processes in an organization, especially if you don’t have an effective plan in place to deal with the breach. The IBM report mentioned above showed that it takes 280 days to completely contain a data breach.

That means you could be spending anywhere from three quarters to a whole year identifying and containing a breach that you could have easily prevented in the first place with awareness training.

If your employees have sufficient awareness about cyber security risks and good practices, the organization will be safe from external attacks.

Prevents Financial Loss

If your organization has over 25,000 employees, a data breach can cost you around $5.52 million. That’s a lot of money you can save with proper cyber security awareness training for your workforce.

Meanwhile, smaller organizations often go out of business after a data breach. If you want to prevent this, it’s best to spend money on cyber security awareness earlier than lose your whole business or a major chunk of your profits on the recovery process.

How to Start Workplace Cyber Security Awareness Training?

Although IT teams do their best to prevent cyber security attacks in an organization, a minor-seeming mistake from another employee can put the whole business at risk. Unfortunately, most organizations don’t take cyber security as seriously as they should.

A study showed that only 45% of the organizations provide security awareness training for their employees. Meanwhile, 10% of the businesses have cyber security awareness training in place, but it’s only optional.

However, you shouldn’t be like these organizations. Here are the steps you need to take to start a cyber security awareness training program.

Step 1: Convince the Management

Doing this shouldn’t be hard if you have the right statistics in your proposal. Instead of using complex cyber security jargon, let the management teams know the overall positive impact of having an awareness training program in place.

Step 2: Evaluate the Training Options

Next, evaluate the best training options for your employees. Here are some ideas:

  • Online Training: You can find many free cyber security training tutorials and awareness sessions online. If you’re a small business with limited resources, you can use these to inform your employees about basic cyber security practices. However, relying on free resources wouldn’t be ideal for larger businesses where cyber security risks are more grave.
  • Training Program: You can create an in-house training program for your employees. Get your IT team on board for this.
  • One-Time Training: If you want to educate your workforce on specialized topics, get the help of a consultant. A one-time training session from a consultant should be ideal per year or per quarter.
  • Third-Party: If you have the budget for it, use a third-party platform to give awareness to your employees about cyber security practices. For instance, if you’re looking for San Diego IT Support, Skyline has a team of certified professionals and support analysts that can help you tackle IT challenges in your organization.

Step 3: Launch Training

Once you’ve selected the training method, you’re all set to launch the training program. You can decide if you want to roll out the training program to the whole organization at once or offer it to some departments initially as a pilot run.

Here are some tips that will help you in this regard:

  • Let the employees know how much time it will take them to complete the training session.
  • Give incentives to your employees so that they take the training session and complete it on time. For instance, you can give gift cards to the first five employees who finish their training sessions.
  • Share case studies and articles about cyber security with your employees.

Step 4: Analyze Results

Finally, analyze the results of your cyber security awareness program. Is there something you can do better next time? Should you conduct it annually or quarterly? Monitor the success of your awareness session and adjust it accordingly for future employees.

Get the Best San Diego IT Support

The first step to ensuring a safe organization is to have a dedicated IT department. If you don’t have an in-house IT department in your organization, there’s no need to worry.

Skyline offers a complete IT management solution with data protection, maintenance, and monitoring services across all your business servers, desktops, and devices.