Cyber security awareness training is one of the most important steps an organisation can take to protect its systems.
Sure, you need anti-malware tech and firewalls to prevent cyber attacks, and you definitely need to back up sensitive files in case they’re lost or stolen, but who handles all that information?
Your staff. And if they don’t know what they should be doing, all your other defences will be for nothing.
Unfortunately, research by Privatise Business VPN suggests that staff aren’t getting the training they need to secure their organisation’s systems.
According to its survey, 53% of IT managers think that employees need a greater understanding of cyber threats.
Not just an IT problem
There’s a common misconception that cyber security is the IT department’s responsibility.
It’s true that IT plays a central role in protecting organisations – hence the input from IT managers in the survey – but technology can only solve so much.
For example, you can implement a login system that requires employees to create passwords that contain a combination of at least eight letters, numbers and special characters, but that won’t necessarily stop someone from using the password ‘Password#1’.
Likewise, it doesn’t stop anyone from using the same login credentials for multiple sites, which increases the damage and likelihood of their accounts being breached.
That’s because when a criminal hacker discovers a password, they’ll often try to link it to other accounts to gain access to more information.
The same is true of every technology: you can set up a Cloud database to ensure you can access files in the event of server damage, but you’re relying on an employee configuring it correctly. If they don’t, the information could be made publicly available.
Ditto spam filters. They can prevent the vast majority of spam and phishing emails from reaching employees’ inboxes, but with about 14.5 billion spam messages sent every day, some are always bound to get through.
When that happens, employees must know how to recognise phishing emails and what they should do when they receive one.
IT departments can certainly help organisations stay secure, but other departments must do their part, creating policies and processes that ensure employees handle sensitive information responsibly.
The benefits of cyber security training
Cyber security training is obviously essential for preventing data breaches, but there are other reasons that organisations should commit to it.
We discussed some of those reasons in a recent blog, but it essentially boils down to making your business more efficient – in your day-to-day operations, your relationship with data protection regulators and in gaining expert knowledge.
For example, studies have repeatedly shown that employee error is one of the leading causes of data breaches, so helping them cut out mistakes helps you avoid the delays and costs associated with security incidents.
But it’s not only data breaches that can cause you problems: violations of the GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation), PECR (Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations) or other similar laws that you are subject to can land you in trouble.
Finally, training your staff and committing to a culture of security is often the only viable way for organisations to find people to take on senior cyber security roles.
The cyber security skills gap has been widening for years, with organisations’ demand for those with expert knowledge outpacing the number of people pursuing a cyber security career.
As a result, it’s increasingly hard to find someone with the necessary skills – and when you do find someone suitable, you’ll be faced with stiff competition and forced to make a generous offer.
Many organisations have addressed this issue by allowing their staff to enrol on training courses to learn new skills.
Employees are often reluctant to take the initiative with training, because the career benefits aren’t always obvious and it’ll mean taking time off work.
However, organisations that support employees who want further training will discover that there are plenty of people who are willing and able to become cyber security experts.
Join our Rewards Club
Whether you’re looking to prevent data breaches, meet compliance requirements or encourage your employees to take further training, you must commit to cyber security training.
Thankfully, that’s easier than ever with IT Governance’s Rewards Club. To join, simply book any training course with us and you’ll automatically receive a 25% discount on courses for life.